Another scripting language implemented into Python itself?

Jack Diederich jack at
Mon Jan 24 21:41:31 EST 2005

On Mon, Jan 24, 2005 at 09:17:24PM -0500, Roy Smith wrote:
> Rocco Moretti <roccomoretti at> wrote:
> > The OP doesn't mention his application, but there is something to be 
> > said about domain specific scripting languages. A well designed 
> > domain-specific scripting language(*) with the appropriate high level 
> > constructs can make script writing simpler.
> This is a bit of a sore point with me.
> I've been involved with several projects where people felt the need to 
> invent their own scripting languages.  It usually starts with "we don't 
> need the power of a full programming language, we only need to be able 
> to do X, Y, and Z".  So they write a little language which lets them do 
> X, Y, and Z.
> Then they discover they need more complex data structures than they 
> originally thought.  And nested loops.  And functions.  And more 
> sophisticated variable scoping rules.  And a regex library.  And 47 
> other things.  So they duct-tape all those into the system.
> A few years later, you end up with most of a real programming language, 
> except with a whole bunch of warts.
> The syntax is usually quirky (the one I'm working with today does not 
> allow any space before the open paren of a function call, but requires 
> it before the opening paren of an "if" statement).  It generally has 
> poor error reporting.  It doesn't have the whole family of free tools 
> that grow up around any real language (editor customization packages, 
> syntax checkers, debuggers, extensions, etc).  You doesn't have a gaggle 
> of tutorial books written about it that you can buy from your favorite 
> on-line bookseller.
> Worse, when you need more brains/bodies on the project, you can't put an 
> add on Hot Jobs for "experienced OurOwnScriptingLanguage programmer" and 
> expect to get anybody who can be productive quickly.
> What it does have is a body of code dependent on it which is now so 
> large that porting it to something else is an unthinkably large task.  
> And it's got a small cadre of language gurus who spend all day defending 
> the language with answers like, "But, it was never *intended* that 
> people would do stuff like this with it".

Me Too! 
I mean, did you used to work at CDNOW too?
I don't miss that want-to-gouge-out-your-own-eyes feeling.


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