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Re: Summary

At 9:51 AM -0400 5/27/03, John Clements wrote:
>It seems like there are two basic attitudes here:
>Perl (and others): I love writing code!  I'm having a great time! 
>Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
>Scheme (and others):   This code is a mess!  I can't write ten lines 
>without introducing bugs! I need help!

While I'd tend to put Lisp, Scheme, and a few others in the first 
camp, this particular dichotomy is *not* what I've been arguing.

My points were that there is no one true feature set, that different 
domains have different sets of appropriate solutions, and that there 
are many different domains with many different sets of requirements. 
Apparently I was failing to get my points across.

While perl (and python, though for other things) has a number of bad 
design decisions in it, the decisions generally are not to include a 
particular feature, rather the way that the feature was implemented 
or the defaults chosen for the feature. Autoconversion, to take 
another hit at the horse-shaped wet spot on the ground, is a 
perfectly reasonable feature *in some situations*. Having it saves a 
lot of programming time, makes the source more readable, and reduces 
the potential for a number of classes of error. While allowing 
autoconversion by default, or silently converting to zero by default, 
may not be the right answer *in your problem domain*, that isn't an 
argument against autoconversion, rather it's an argument over the 
defaults that perl has chosen.

Computer languages don't need to be minimalist--we're not in the CS 
IKEA shop picking out furniture. Heck, they aren't minimalist now, as 
if they were all we'd have would be a call/cc, test-and-branch, 
addition, and nand instructions in our languages. We have, last time 
I checked, just a few more than that. Different languages have 
different characters, and we *need* that broad range of languages. 
Each brings something different to the work at hand, and even 
languages that act as just a testbed or an example of what not to do 
are valuable.

--------------------------------------"it's like this"-------------------
Dan Sugalski                          even samurai
dan@sidhe.org                         have teddy bears and even
                                       teddy bears get drunk