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Re: Rather, DSSLs increase modularity, productivity

On Mon, 17 Nov 2003, Jim Blandy wrote:

> Dan Sugalski <dan@sidhe.org> writes:
> > To a large extent, yes. But don't discount the startup costs here -- if
> > you start with lex and yacc you're starting with the intent to build a
> > full language. Many, possibly most, DSLs start as a sort of a hack because
> > someone needs the functionality and it was easy enough to hand-code
> > something to get by. Things quickly get out of hand from there. :)
> The most effective argument I ever made for using a pre-existing
> extension language, rather than inventing one from scratch, went
> something like this:

[painful example snipped]

What I find most effective (modulo heckling from the LL audience here) is
"Larry and Bjarne were both language design pros, and look what they ended
up with. And you think you can do better?"

Occasionally I'll run across someone with an ego big enough to not be
deterred, but usually the wince at C++ and/or perl will deter the would-be
horrible language designer. (And all the readings of that phrase likely
apply :)

While it's possible that's deterred some artistic genius from creating the
Best Language Ever, odds are it's stopped quite a number of things that'd
make INTERCAL look nice. I think I can live with that.

> But where this leads, I don't know.  I just hope it's to something
> more helpful than "You shoulda thunk harder [dope slap]."

The only thing I can think is to say "Think harder" before it all starts.
The trouble there is noticing that you've come to the start, rather than
noticing you've gone quite a few months past it...


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