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Re: Questions for a language designer

At 8:26 AM -0400 5/28/03, andrew cooke wrote:
>I wonder if the most interesting languages (those that do something
>new) take a list like this and try to find some abstraction that
>allows apparently conflicting choices to be viewed as two applications
>of a single idea.

I also wonder if languages that had more up-front design
have clearer answers to these questions.  I was thinking
about a bunch of languages last night and this morning,
and lots of them neatly answer a lot of the questions,
such as C, FORTRAN, Lisp, Dylan, Java, Pascal, ML, Haskell,
Python, ...  There were two in particular that I had a hard
time categorizing: C++ and Perl.

For example, C++ tries to do generic object orientation
two different ways, via classes and via templates.  It's
got several ways of passing arguments.  It's got syntactic
extensions, but as an abuse of templates.  And so on.  Does
this reflect on its accreted nature?  If so, why do various
dialects of Lisp feel more consistent to me?

I guess I'm going to have to identity 15 or 20 "archetype"
(or at least important) languages and make a honking great
table to see where they lie in the taxonomy.