[E-Lang] Message send syntax

zooko@zooko.com zooko@zooko.com
Sat, 31 Mar 2001 23:41:51 -0800

I'd like to mention that I still feel the same way about `.' for method
invocation as I did when we last discussed it.

For one thing it makes it easier for the eye to pick out method invocations
without having to actually read the words.  See my earlier message on the
subject[1].  And note that the addition of required parens does help in the
case that you are reading the words without knowing which are keywords and
which are method invocations, but it does not help in the case that you are
scanning, or looking for something, without reading the words.

But much more importantly, sticking to familiar syntax will make newcomers to
the language more comfortable emotionally.  I first encountered "white space as
method invocation" while reading some print-outs of web pages in an airport.  
I remember grimacing and grumbling to myself under my breath, thinking
resentfully "There had better be a good reason for this apparently unnecessary
change other than just that MarkM thought it looked prettier.".

I know that MarkM prefers whitespace instead of `.' because for E-as-a-shell-
language you would be able to type a bit faster, but since Dean has brought it
up again I would like to urge MarkM to prioritize newbie comfort over easier
keystrokes here.



P.S.  For what it is worth, I do find whitespace separating function names from
arguments to be beautiful in Haskell, but I would still solidly vote against it
for E, as I want E to have more programmers than does Haskell.  :-)

[1]  http://www.eros-os.org/pipermail/e-lang/2001-March/004631.html