Python is readable

Steve Howell showell30 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 22 02:35:16 CET 2012


On Mar 21, 11:06 am, Nathan Rice <nathan.alexander.r... at gmail.com>
wrote:
> As for syntax, we have a lot of "real" domain specific languages, such
> as English, math and logic. They are vetted, understood and useful
> outside the context of programming.  We should approach the discussion
> of language syntax from the perspective of trying to define a unified
> syntactical structure for real these DSLs.    Ideally it would allow
> representation of things in a familiar way where possible, while
> providing an elegant mechanism for descriptions that cut across
> domains and eliminating redundancy/ambiguity.  This is clearly
> possible, though a truly successful attempt would probably be a work
> of art for the ages.

If I'm reading you correctly, you're expressing frustration with the
state of language syntax unification in 2012.  You mention language in
a broad sense (not just programming languages, but also English, math,
logic, etc.), but even in the narrow context of programming languages,
the current state of the world is pretty chaotic.

My position is that mankind is stuck in a painful, but inevitable,
part of the evolutionary process of building programming languages.
If there are quantum leaps of expressiveness/elegance/familiarity
around the corner, I haven't seen them.  My take is that the landscape
in 2032 won't be vastly different than 2012.  Languages will be better
incrementally, but Python 4 or Python 5, or whatever eclipses Python
in two decades, won't look vastly different than the Python we have
now.

If you look back to 1992, things weren't vastly different than now.
In 1992 you already had Perl, C/C++, Python, Haskell, LISP, etc.  Some
of the languages we have in 2012 were still a glimmer in the eye back
then (notably Java and Ruby), and some were quite young (notably
Python), but most of them can at least trace their roots to earlier
days.

The optimistic view is that there will be some kind of inflection
point around 2020 or so.  I could imagine a perfect storm of good
things happening, like convergence on a single browser platform,
nearly complete migration to Python 3, further maturity of JVM-based
languages, etc., where the bar gets a little higher from what people
expect from languages.  Instead of fighting semicolons and braces, we
start thinking bigger.  It could also be some sort of hardware
advance, like screen resolutions that are so amazing they let us
completely rethink our views on terseness, punctuation, code
organization, etc.












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