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

Eddie Corns eddie at
Tue Jan 20 17:45:45 CET 2004

cartermark46 at (Mark Carter) writes:

>What I meant was: programs written in s-exprs makes it possible to
>accomodate new paradigms because, ultimately, everything is a list,
>which you can parse to accomodate your new paradigm. Programs not
>written in s-exprs require extra syntax to be bolted onto the

The way I view it is that you can express _everything_ you want a computer to
do as:

  COMMAND arg1 arg2 ...

When you have code as data thrown in to the mix you can extend this concept to
what you want done with code, so as well as saying:

  ADD x y z
  PUT this there

you have the ability to control the way code is executed

  DO this-body-of-code
  DO this-body-of-code for all these things

And essentially new paradigms ARE about how we organise code, so we can indeed
adapt to any paradigm AND we still have minimum syntax to deal with.  One of
the things I like about scheme in this instance is that the rules of your
paradigm are explicit in the code/macros that you create to parse the basic
constructs of your paradigm (objects, messages, whatever).

>But I suppose, if you want, to argue that all Turing Complete
>languages are equivalent, so they support all the paradigms that the
>others support.

Then you run into Greenspun's tenth rule amongst others.  Also, of course, you
have to consider expressiveness which is much harder to pin down.


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