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Re: Can a functional language be sequential?
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2003 15:40:32 -0400
From: "Michael St . Hippolyte" <email@example.com>
Subject: Can a functional language be sequential?
Forgive my ignorance of what must be a pretty basic point,
but I'm wondering if the language I'm working on, Bento, can
accurately be labeled a functional language.
A Bento program consists of a hierarchy of object definitions;
each definition may contain further definitions as well as
zero or more constructions. When a Bento object is
instantiated, the constructions in the associated definition
are evaluated in sequence.
The constructions in such sequences obey the constraints of a
function in functional programming as I understand them (i.e.,
no mutable variables and no side effects), and I don't see how
putting functions in an ordered list would change this. But
the functional languages I've seen all seem to avoid any hint
of sequential programming. Is this simply a point of style,
or does allowing sequences of functions disqualify a language
from being called functional?
Let me ask a question first, the answer to which may
shed some light: why is it specified in Bento that the
constructions be evaluated "in sequence"? Would it
make a difference if the constructions were evaluated
in some arbitrary order, or concurrently? If so, what
difference would it make?