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RE: Hackers and Painters and Lawyers

Peter J. Wasilko, Esq. wrote:

> > On Friday, May 16, 2003, at 02:44  PM, Peter J. Wasilko, Esq. wrote:
> > >     Take pity on End Users and consider Plain English Programming.
> > > After all, if lawyers can learn to write in Plain English, surely CS
> > > people can rise to the challenge!
> >
> > And mathematicians? What about them?
> >
> > john "no thanks" clements
> Hi John,
>     They play in their own pool. :-)

Ah, but one useful thing computer scientists have done for us is to
conclusively show that all the computer languages we've invented are in fact
purely mathematical systems - and pretty much have to be, in the absence of
programs that can e.g. interpret true natural language.  Computer (language)
scientists and mathematicians play in different parts of the same pool.

Programming languages are not just similar to math, they are math (however
twisted, in some cases).  That's worth keeping in mind if you plan to map
friendlier surface syntaxes onto languages - you're really attempting to
simplify an underlying mathematical system.  Friendly syntax is fairly easy
to achieve, but it alone won't get you very far.

Re terminology, the question is not whether, say, 'closure' is an accessible
term - the question is much more likely to be whether and how the concept of
closures should even be exposed to "end user programmers".

If you look at the execution model in languages like BASIC, which have had
some success with end user programmers, there really aren't many concepts
with terribly complicated terminology or semantics.  The price you pay for
simplified semantics tends to be lack of power, which may be acceptable in
an end user language.