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Re: What would your ideal language be like...

On Tue, Feb 18, 2003 at 07:22:30AM -0500, Kevin Kelleher wrote:
> If I could design a language...

> - a small footprint
Well, maybe it'd be nice to be able to dump programs with small footprint,
but I'd definitely like an big footprint environment for development.

> - easy to do file i/o
File I/O sucks. Make it rather easy to do orthogonal persistence.

> - GOOD DOCUMENTATION, and in particular, a good tutorial
Nah. Make it rather declarative programming, and a metaprogram to
automatically explain things, guide you through the language in
goal directed ways, maintain a database of common goals across newbies,

> - a shallow end and a deep end, by which I mean that it
>     should be easy to do simple things, but abstruse features
>     should be in there as well
Yup. That's a challenge. But once again, I think a good solution is
at the meta-level: if the environment can guide you through the wealth
of a big-footprint environment, everything that has been done before
by anyone suddenly becomes reachable to you.

> - easy to manipulate strings
Yuck. Strings are evil. But yeah, to interface with legacy
and the real world, we sadly have to support that.

> - good interface to the operating system
Sure. But provide higher-order wrappers and metaprograms
that allow to abstract away newly-interfaced functionality
in sensible ways.

OK. But these are just general principles.
Constraint-solving these principles is a difficult job
for the meta-meta-program in anyone's brain.

> I don't think it's a lot to ask, but I've often found myself
> reading language descriptions or manuals, and after
> five chapters found nothing about how to open a file...
> At that point I lose interest.
Maybe you're looking at the wrong place.
Try the example database.
Try to search the documentation:
	Select D S Space C Space o p e n Space f i l e Return

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