The use of :

Jeremy Bowers jerf at jerf.org
Mon Nov 29 07:12:16 CET 2004


On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 22:10:31 +0100, BJörn Lindqvist wrote:
> I always thought the rule was "the less useless symbols, the higher the
> readability." I.e:

There's a bit of circularity there, in that a symbol's use can *be* to
enhance readability. I'd certainly agree that instances where this holds
true is an exception rather than the rule, but it seems plausible to me
that Python is symbol-free enough for this to be a potential
justification.

The only punctuation you *need* is whitespace. See Forth (I don't know
if this is perfect but I'd bet the transform is simple), the HP RPN
calculator programming languages (IIRC, the only other punctuation is a
block delimiter, which would also be easy to transform away), or some
hacks I've cooked up for my own use where I minimized the token count
because I had to write the parser by hand and I was willing to trade a
little extra work to write the parsed stuff for an easier translation.
(Usually it is data, not programs, so while saying that's a "compilation"
is technically true it isn't what most people think of.) Take it to those
extremes and you'd see what I mean; extra symbols can help.

(Or, God help you, see the whitespace language for a demonstration that
all you need is whitespace, period. 

http://compsoc.dur.ac.uk/whitespace/ )



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