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Re: another take on hackers and painters

"Todd Proebsting" <toddpro@microsoft.com> writes:

> Because of these confusions, I'm not convinced it is "a pity" that
> there is no automatic conversion to a list from anything.  It's a
> judgment call.

You're absolutely right - it *is* a judgement call.  And one that the
language designer have the responsibility of making.  The Icon
designers chose to autoconvert "2" and "0.2" into numbers in a numeric
context but chose not to do this conversion for "three" or less
apocryphally "0xff".  This is not say these conversions may not have
been useful - they may have been - but not sufficiently so that they
be included.  Similarly, I never imagined there was another
interpretation of "aa"||| [] other than ["aa"] which may be
shortsightedness on my part.  Alternatively, if enough programmers in
the world think that "aa" ||| [] *is* ["aa"] then isn't it better to
define it to be so (inconveniencing some folk) rather than punting on
autoconverting entirely for lists (thus inconveniencing everyone).

Perhaps a way to design little languages is using the Google API. :-)
One releases a version the language with all the bells and whistles
turned on.  Six months later, one spiders the web for all the features
that programmers have used, make these the default and possibly then
turns everything else off.  If this process ran automatically every
six months, the language would be a curiosity that changed with how
people used it.

Jasvir Nagra