Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Fri Mar 30 03:56:44 CEST 2012

On Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:48:40 -0400, Nathan Rice wrote:

> Here's a thought experiment.  Imagine that you have a project tree on
> your file system which includes files written in many different
> programming languages.  Imagine that the files can be assumed to be
> contiguous for our purposes, so you could view all the files in the
> project as one long chunk of data.  The directory and file names could
> be interpreted as statements in this data, analogous to "in the context
> of somedirectory" or "in the context of somefile with sometype".  Any
> project configuration files could be viewed as declarative statements
> about contexts, such as "in xyz context, ignore those" or "in abc
> context, any that is actually a this".  Imagine the compiler or
> interpreter is actually part of your program (which is reasonable since
> it doesn't do anything by itself).  Imagine the build management tool is
> also part of your program in pretty much the same manner.  Imagine that
> your program actually generates another program that will generate the
> program the machine runs.  I hope you can follow me here, and further I
> hope you can see that this is a completely valid description of what is
> actually going on (from a different perspective).
> What does pushing the abstraction point that far up provide?

I see why you are so hostile towards Joel Spolsky's criticism of 
Architecture Astronauts: you are one of them. Sorry Nathan, I don't know 
how you breathe that high up.

For what it's worth, your image of "everything from the compiler on up is 
part of your program" describes both Forth and Hypercard to some degree, 
both of which I have used and like very much. I still think you're 
sucking vacuum :(


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