Python and Ruby
jgardner at jonathangardner.net
Tue Feb 2 23:09:38 CET 2010
On Feb 1, 6:50 pm, Nobody <nob... at nowhere.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 01 Feb 2010 14:13:38 -0800, Jonathan Gardner wrote:
> > I judge a language's simplicity by how long it takes to explain the
> > complete language. That is, what minimal set of documentation do you
> > need to describe all of the language?
> That's not a particularly good metric, IMHO.
> A simple "core" language doesn't necessarily make a language simple to
> use. You can explain the entirety of pure lambda calculus or combinators
> in five minutes, but you wouldn't want to write real code in either (and
> you certainly wouldn't want to read such code which was written by someone
> For a start, languages with a particularly simple "core" tend to delegate
> too much to the library. One thing which puts a lot of people off of
> lisp is the lack of infix operators; after all, (* 2 (+ 3 4)) works fine
> and doesn't require any additional language syntax. For an alternative,
> Tcl provides the "expr" function which essentially provides a sub-language
> for arithmetic expressions.
> A better metric is whether using N features has O(N) complexity, or O(N^2)
> (where you have to understand how each feature relates to each other
> feature) or even O(2^N) (where you have to understand every possible
> combination of interactions).
> > With a handful of statements,
> > and a very short list of operators, Python beats out every language in
> > the Algol family that I know of.
> Not once you move beyond the 10-minute introduction, and have to start
> thinking in terms of x + y is x.__add__(y) or maybe y.__radd__(x) and also
> that x.__add__(y) is x.__getattribute__('__add__')(y) (but x + y *isn't*
> equivalent to the latter due to __slots__), and maybe .__coerce__() gets
> involved somewhere, and don't even get me started on __metaclass__ or
> __init__ versus __new__ or ...
> Yes, the original concept was very nice and clean, but everything since
> then has been wedged in there by sheer force with a bloody great hammer.
I strongly suggest you read the documentation on these bits of Python.
If you're scared of __new__ versus __init__, then you haven't been
programming very long in any language. There is a case when you need
one over the other. The same goes for the other concepts.
Programming languages that don't provide these features (like
accommodate the needs of large apps.
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