[Tutor] Are you allowed to shoot camels? [kinda OT]

Jeff Shannon jeff at ccvcorp.com
Fri Feb 4 03:22:01 CET 2005

Max Noel wrote:

> On Feb 3, 2005, at 23:41, Jeff Shannon wrote:
>> (But then, at my job I'm stuck using a horrible Frankenstein's monster 
>> of a proprietary language on a daily basis, so I can't help but 
>> believe that there's plenty more awful languages around that didn't 
>> happen to be "rescued" from oblivion by an accident of history...)
>     Yeah. Sometimes I read a little bit of Wikipedia's "Esoteric 
> Programming Languages" page, and some of them just leave me in awe. 
> Brainfuck (and its variant Ook!) and INTERCAL ("GOTO is considered 
> harmful, so we removed it -- INTERCAL uses COME FROM instead") are 
> already quite impressive, but the very idea of Befunge makes my brain 
> want to explode. Especially that extension to the language that allows 
> one to write N-dimensional programs. :D

The difference here is that those are languages that were *intended* 
to be brain-melting.  The language I'm talking about (Pick Proc, aka 
UHL) was intended to do real work with -- though at times I think it 
was designed by a brain-damaged lemur that was huffing paint fumes.

For example, every line (except flow-control statements i.e. 'if' and 
'go' (there's a few other exceptions as well, but anyhow...)) must 
begin with a single character that denotes what the line does - 'c' 
for comment, 'o' for output (print to terminal), 'h' to build a 
command, 'p' to execute that command... empty lines are forbidden. 
Note also that the position *after* the final newline character is 
considered a line, and therefore a file cannot end with a newline.

Especially when combined with several of the utilities that it's 
commonly used to script for, it begins to approach Perl in 
indecipherability, without even having the excuse of being largely 
non-alpha characters.

I'd consider writing a Python extension that would interact with the 
system such that I wouldn't need to use this awful little scripting 
language, but that would require more effort and thought than I'm 
willing to invest in learning the details of this system.

Jeff Shannon
Credit International

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