Tuesday, December 22

Geek

Nine Horrible Programming Languages That No-One Will Ever Use, And Lua

Well, it's more honest than the original title of the article.

One thing language designers keep forgetting is that syntax matters.  Your language may work semantic magic, but if it's unwriteable and unreadable, programmers will ignore it.  And that's the sad truth of nine out of the ten languages mentioned here.  Lisp and Smalltalk were never successful and never will be, and it's clearly not because they lack expressive power.  It's because the syntax is so goddam ugly.

Logo has the power of Lisp and a syntax that's only a little weird; unfortunately, it got pigeonholed as a children's teaching language.  The rest of the Lisp derivatives are just plain horrible.  Smalltalk and Objective C too.  And don't get me started on Forth.

Lua has some annoying quirks that keep it from being the perfect language. For example, you don't have named parameters in function calls, but you can fake it by using an f{} call instead of an f() call.  That makes perfect sense in the context of Lua's design, but it's confusing as hell for a new user.  Oh, and it uses .. as a string concatenation operator, which is just vile.  Overall, though, it's clean enough for me to adopt it as the new Minx scripting language.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:15 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Aww. They left out "Whitespace".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, December 23 2009 05:39 AM (+rSRq)

2 Just be glad you don't have to write code in English!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at Wednesday, December 23 2009 09:27 AM (R7LgM)

3 I've been enjoying the mailing list for the new Thompson/Pike/etc concurrent language Go. There's just something breathtaking about the Random Internet People who show up and scold the developers for being ignorant about something (many, many somethings). Favorite bit: some Instant Expert who lectured on what a bad idea it was to use UTF-8 as the default encoding in a language... to a group that includes the inventor of UTF-8.

The language itself is interesting; I haven't written more than a toy app in it yet (most of my projects need more library support, aka "CPAN"), but I find it a refreshing change from the typical FotM languages.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at Wednesday, December 23 2009 02:45 PM (nw1eC)

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