[E-Lang] get, set, and dot

Vijay Saraswat vijay@saraswat.org
Tue, 27 Feb 2001 10:44:09 -0500


> E is a very expressive language. There's a lot of stuff going on in
> very little space. I think E has already won a decisive victory on
> terseness. I think clarity and consistency are now more important.
> Saving a few more characters at the cost of clarity is not a good
> tradeoff at this point.

Amen.

Saving a few characters = penny wise, pound foolish.

The main thing to keep in mind is the *mental models* we build around
programming languages. Gotta keep the mental model sweet and simple.
Programming languages are notations for communicating extremely
well-defined abstractions from one person to another. (And oh, by the way,
the fact that you can *execute* is icing on the cake.. :-).. there is a
quote here from "A Discpiline of Programming" lost in the fogs of my youth
:-(..)

Getting good syntax that directly captures the core elements of the mental
model is very very very hard. Forces you to grapple with what is at the
core of the language/set of ideas/mental model and what is incidental.

Anytime you can express something fairly basic in a language in a few
different ways syntactically you got an "interoperability" problem.
Because me and my cronies may use one of those ways, and you and yours
might use another. Reading and understanding and communicating code
between camps becomes that much harder --- shifting gears all the time on
the fly is really hard to do. If you standardize on one way, then everyone
might face some pain when they *write*, but pretty soon, everyone becomes
familiar with it. And *reading* is much less painful.

I'd stick with foo run(), too.

The more you elide, the more "implicit context" you have to carry in your
head.

Best,
Vijay