New syntax for blocks

Steven D'Aprano steven at
Thu Nov 19 00:27:15 CET 2009

On Wed, 18 Nov 2009 18:28:11 +1300, greg wrote:

> r wrote:
>> I think the syntax was chosen because the alternatives are even worse
>> AND since assignment is SO common in programming, would you *really*
>> rather type two chars instead of one?
> Smalltalk solved the problem by using a left-arrow character for
> assignment. But they had an unfair advantage in being able to use a
> non-standard character set on their custom-built machines.
> We should be able to do a lot better now using Unicode. We could even
> heal the <> vs != rift by using a real not-equal symbol!

The problem isn't with the available characters, but with *typing* them.

It is hard to enter arbitrary Unicode characters by the keyboard, which 
frankly boggles my mind. I don't know what the state of the art on Mac is 
these days, but in 1984s Macs had a standard keyboard layout that let you 
enter most available characters via the keyboard, using sensible 
mnemonics. E.g. on a US keyboard layout, you could get ≠ by holding down 
the Option key and typing =.

For me, I had to:

Click Start menu > Utilities > More Applications > KCharSelect.
Click through thirty-four(!) tables scanning by eye for the symbol I 
Click the ≠ character.
Click To Clipboard.
Go back to my editor window and paste.


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