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Article:
  What I Hate About Your Programming Language
Subject:   What do you hate about Forth, Lisp and APL?
Date:   2005-10-16 00:45:32
From:   znmeb
I maintain there are only half a dozen unique programming languages in the history of computing: macro assembler, FORTRAN, Lisp, APL, FORTH and SmallTalk. So ... what do you hate about those languages?


Oh ... learn a new language every year? That implies someone has to come up with a decent new language every year. I'm learning Ruby right now. I go about one language every two to three years. Before Ruby it was R and before R it was Perl.


I never did learn Python or PHP, and I don't really think I want to. And I don't think I want to learn any of the "theoretical" languages like Eiffel, Haskell, OCAML, etc. I'll stick with Lisp for that.

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  • What do you hate about Forth, Lisp and APL?
    2005-10-28 03:09:59  adrianh [View]

    <blockquote> And I don't think I want to learn any of the "theoretical" languages like Eiffel, Haskell, OCAML, etc. </blockquote>

    I really quite like Eiffel, and never really saw it as a theoretical language :-) The OO model is elegant, and Design By Contract is rather effective (although less effective than TDD in my experience.)

  • What do you hate about Forth, Lisp and APL?
    2005-10-27 15:41:47  chromatic | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    Hm, good question. I don't have a lot experience with macro assembler, but if you mean what I think you mean, text substitution macros just aren't fun.

    Forth (or PostScript, which I have written) has the problem that I never trained my brain to work in the stack-oriented way.

    Smalltalk is nice, but its "all of the world is an image" approach really gets in the way sometimes.

    I would like Lisp better if it had syntax.

    It's probably worth at least exploring one of the languages in your theoretical list. I've done some Haskell programming and it's a good way to expand your mind, especially with pattern matching function signatures and currying -- even if you don't get into monads or continuations. The choices for syntax annoy me in some places though.
    • What do you hate about Forth, Lisp and APL?
      2005-10-28 03:19:59  adrianh [View]

      Hm, good question. I don't have a lot experience with macro assembler, but if you mean what I think you mean, text substitution macros just aren't fun.



      Most macro assemblers these days aren't just simple text substitutions, but have some knowledge of "syntax".



      However, even basic cpp style subs are a lot more usable with assembler (back in the day when I was writing a moderate amount of 6502 code I wrote my own :-). Since there isn't as much language syntax to confuse issues you don't get half the problems that you get in C for example.



      I would like Lisp better if it had syntax.



      You'd like Lisp better if it had more syntax m'thinks. But then, of course, you would lose many of the advantages having a first class representation of the AST gives you.