What is Expressiveness in a Computer Language

Joe Marshall eval.apply at gmail.com
Tue Jun 20 19:09:01 CEST 2006


Chris Smith wrote:
> Joe Marshall <eval.apply at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Agreed.  That is why there is the qualifier `dynamic'.  This indicates
> > that it is a completely different thing from static types.
>
> If we agree about this, then there is no need to continue this
> discussion.  I'm not sure we do agree, though, because I doubt we'd be
> right here in this conversation if we did.

I think we do agree.

The issue of `static vs. dynamic types' comes up about twice a year in
comp.lang.lisp  It generally gets pretty heated, but eventually people
come to understand what the other person is saying (or they get bored
and drop out of the conversation - I'm not sure which).  Someone always
points out that the phrase `dynamic types' really has no meaning in the
world of static type analysis.  (Conversely, the notion of a `static
type' that is available at runtime has no meaning in the dynamic
world.)  Much confusion usually follows.

You'll get much farther in your arguments by explaining what you mean
in detail rather than attempting to force a unification of teminology.
You'll also get farther by remembering that many of the people here
have not had much experience with real static type systems.  The static
typing of C++ or Java is so primitive that it is barely an example of
static typing at all, yet these are the most common examples of
statically typed languages people typically encounter.




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