Xah's Edu Corner: The importance of syntax & notations.

toby toby at telegraphics.com.au
Sun Aug 16 22:51:21 CEST 2009

On Aug 16, 12:05 pm, Peter Keller <psil... at merlin.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
> In comp.lang.scheme Xah Lee <xah... at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Xah's Edu Corner: The importance of syntax & notations.
> >http://www.stephenwolfram.com/publications/recent/mathml/mathml_abstr...
> > this article should teach the coding sophomorons and computer
> > ?science? idiotic authors who harbor the notion that syntax is not
> > important, picked up by all the elite i-reddit & twittering &  hacker
> > news am-hip dunces.
> I must have really tweaked you with my "Syntax is not important, ideas are."
> statement.
> I read Wolfram's article carefully. He applies an intuitive sense onto
> why he does or doesn't like a particular notation, but yet can't really
> elucidate his feelings.

Exactly; and as far as I can determine, Knuth does the same. He
applies standards of *good taste* to his notation. (No surprise that
he's also singled out for vituperation by the OP.)

In my opinion Knuth believed in the value of literate programming for
similar reasons: To try to exploit existing cognitive training. If
your user base is familiar with English, or mathematical notation, or
some other lexicography, try to exploit the pre-wired associations.
Clearly this involves some intuition.

> ...
> Thank you.
> -pete

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