[Python-Dev] PEP202

Jeremy Hylton jeremy@beopen.com
Tue, 25 Jul 2000 23:57:38 -0400 (EDT)

>>>>> "ESR" == Eric S Raymond <esr@thyrsus.com> writes:

  ESR> Greg Ewing <greg@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz>:
  [>> ESR wrote:]
  >> > What they want to be is an applicative sublanguage in
  >> > functional style
  >> Um, that might be what *you* want them to be, but it's the
  >> complete opposite of what *I* want them to be, which is a way of
  >> getting away from all those convoluted combinator constructs!

  ESR> So your theory is that non-intuitive procedural syntax so
  ESR> complex that it *needs* usability testing is better.

  ESR> Riiiight... 

Wow!  There's so much jargon being slung here I don't know what's
going on.  (For the second time in the last few weeks, I feel like a
bit player in a movie where all the major roles are played by Peter
Sellers. <wink>) 

Seriously, I don't understand how to apply terms like "applicative
sublanguage in functional style" or "procedural syntax" to a concept
like list comprehensions.  The basic idea is to express the elements
of list using a set-like notation similar to the one used by
mathematicians.  I don't know whether to call that applicative,
functional, or procedural; perhaps none of them applu.  Maybe it's
just late, but I suspect that these high-level terms don't inform the
debate much.

I think we can all agree on two things:

1. Greg and Eric have different goals, which is fine.

2. Usability testing is always a good thing.  To paraphrase Fred
Brooks, even the best language designers aren't so omniscient as to
get it right the first time.