The end to all language wars and the great unity API to come!

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Wed Jul 6 07:46:36 EDT 2011

rantingrick wrote:

>> Define "best for all", and try not to make it "what Rick wants".
> You want features? And remember i am talking about scripting/glue
> level languages here. Something to replace Python, Ruby, Perl,
> JavaScript, etc, etc not some "pie-in-the-sky",  "single-answer-to-all-
> our-problems" pipe dream language.
>  * Intuitive syntax.

Intuitive to who? 

Newbies? Then you get a language like Hypertalk, that experienced
programmers hate.

Experienced C programmers? Then you get something like Java.

Forth programmers? Then you get something like Arc, that nobody except Paul
Graham uses. (Not literally, no offence to anyone who likes Arc.)

System administrators? They you get something like Perl. ("It's like bash
scripting only better!")

Mathematicians? Then you get something like Haskell.

Non-programmers? Then you could get anything from Inform7, to Applescript,
to Resolver's Python-in-a-spreadsheet, to Pascal, to FoxPro, to Flash, to
Javascript, to Mathematica... depending on *which* non-programmers you are
aiming at.

>  * Productivity friendly.

That covers everything from Excel to Lisp, depending on who you ask.

>  * Complex enough to solve large problems but simple enough for simple
> problems (that does include extending into C when needed)

But if you are designing the "perfect language", what do you need C for? C
will no longer exist, except in museums, because Rick's perfect language
will be used for everything.

>  * Multi paradigm (problem

Which is guaranteed to annoy those who believe that paradigms A, C, D and E
are harmful and should be avoided... the only problem is that there is no
broad agreement on which paradigm B is non-harmful.

>  * Promotes a culture of code readability (because people read source;
> not just machines!).

Define readability.

Hypertalk, Python, Inform7 and Pascal are all readable, in radically
different ways.

>> No, Python is not a monoculture. There are the Stackless, Jython, PyPy
>> and IronPython sub-cultures, all with their own needs, wants and desires.
>> There are sub-cultures for embedded devices and smart phones,
>> sub-cultures for those who use Python as a teaching language, for web
>> development, for GUI development, and for system administration. There
>> are the Numpy and Scipy sub-cultures, sub-cultures in the fields of
>> linguistics and biology.
> Hmm. Just think how far ahead we would be if these folks would stop
> trying to support petty differences and focus on a singular Python
> language?

These are not "petty differences", but real differences that are important
to people who have actually work to do.

A sushi chef needs a different sort of knife to a brain surgeon, both of
which are different to that needed by a special forces soldier deep in
enemy territory, which is different again to the sort of knife is needed by
some guy working in a warehouse unpacking boxes. Different jobs need
different tools.

There is no perfect language because different tasks need different tools,
and any compromise tool that tries to do everything will be weaker than a
specialist tool.


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