best book: aint no such thing, and encouragement for old coots

Eddie Corns eddie at holyrood.ed.ac.uk
Mon Jan 19 18:51:24 CET 2004


cartermark46 at ukmail.com (Mark Carter) writes:

>I'm experimenting with learning a functional language; and I know
>almost zero about Scheme. I find it very difficult to understand the
>structure of what's going on. I downloaded Standard ML (the New Jersey
>offering), and find myself more inclined to dig into ML deeper; rather
>than Scheme. ML does, at first glance, seem more readable.

It's probably a lot more important to stretch yourself out in that direction
than to worry about which flavour.

>I suppose that Schemers and Lispers take the attitude that a lack of
>syntax is an advantage, because you can ultimately program in any
>paradigm you wish. It's "just" a case of writing code that implements
>the paradigm. I have also heard claims that the existence of
>parantheses in s-exprs is a red herring as far as readability is
>concerned.

The supposed unreadability is a complete nonsense, you quickly don't notice
the parentheses and rely mostly on the indentation.  I think I'll start
looking for another project I can do in Scheme, it's been ages.

>Non Schemers/Lispers, on the other hand, presumably think that a
>spoonful of syntactic sugar helps the medicine go down.

>I suspect that if there really was One Obviously Right Way To Do It,
>then we'd all be using it. No silver bullet, and all that.

>I am sure, though, that there will be many people who disagree with my
>sentiments.

Who cares eh?  The important thing is to get the message through to the few
who can think for themselves and give them a chance to rise above the
mediocrity.

Somehow I'm reminded of a sequence in a novel I was reading at the weekend:

Q:"Do you exercise?"
A:"Only restraint!"




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