how to name a function in a comp lang (design)

Xah Lee xahlee at gmail.com
Wed Oct 20 14:07:25 CEST 2010


On Oct 20, 4:52 am, Marc Mientki <mien... at nonet.com> wrote:
> Am 20.10.2010 13:14, schrieb Xah Lee:
>
> > See also:
>
> > • 〈The Importance of Terminology's Quality In Computer Languages〉
> >http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/naming_functions.html
>
> > where i gave some examples of the naming.
>
>    "I'd like to introduce a blog post by Stephen Wolfram, on the design
> process of Mathematica. In particular, he touches on the importance of
> naming of functions."
>
>    "The functions in Mathematica, are usually very well-named, in
> contrast to most other computing languages."
>
>    "Let me give a few example. [...]"

thanks for your post. didn' t know you also use Mathematica.

on the aspect of function naming, i think Mathematica is rather unique
in its philosophy. Am not aware any other lang old or new follows a
similar philosophy... possibly except javascript.

> It is much easier to improve something good than to invent from scratch.
> When Lisp was born, Stephen Wolfram was still wearing diapers.
>
> For your information: Mathematica was my first Lisp-like language. I
> used it about 10 years almost every day and I love it because of the
> beauty of the concept. But Mathematica has two serious problems: first,
> there is only one implementation and it is commercial, and secondly,
> Mathematica is very, very slowly and does not generate executable code
> that can be used without Mathematica itself. Thus, comparisons to other
> languages, such as Lisp are not fair.

you are right... thought these aspects don't have much to do with
function naming.

i tend to think that Mathematica is that way due to a unique mind,
Stephen Wolfram. And if i may say, i share much mindset with him with
respect to many lang design issues. (or rather, Mathematica was my
first lang for about 6 years too) But i think rather, Mathematica's
lang design philosophy more has to do with certain pure mathematician
mindset.  This is somewhat similar to how haskell is a lang designed
such that it is much independent of any concept of hardware. Same here
with Mathematica, but on the naming aspect, Mathematica's function
names is designed without even much relation to comp sci lingoes, but
rather, the essense of ideas captured in a mathematical way.

 Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/


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