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Mon, 14 Jul 2003
Dan Sugalski on high end language features
Dan Sugalski makes an excellent point about the inclusion of wacky high end features in programming languages:
That's the point people miss. You don't provide source filters, continuations, macros, or whatever because everyone will use them, you provide them so the two or three people who will use them can produce things that would otherwise be insanely difficult. What people do use is what those few folks made, and that is what makes the difficult stuff worth providing.
The context here is a dinner after the Dynamic Langauges on the CLR BOF at OSCON last week.
[22:37] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

Dan sez:

I am not, and never have been a perl guy.

Dan also

I also do perl 5 training, was, for a while, responsible for the VMS port of perl, did a lot with the original threading model that was built into perl 5.005, write modules, some consulting, and I know far more than any sane human being should about the internals of perl 5.

But that aside.  I understand the distinction between implementor and language designer.  I also understand that some features which (I argue) are unwise in a high level language are awfully useful as an implementation tool for those languages.  In the end it's JMP instructions all the way down.

Note that I'm not against continuations in principle.  I think that they, like threads, can cause a great deal of pain if they aren't packaged properly.  But that's a language design issue, not an implementation one.
Posted by David Ascher at Fri Jul 18 13:30:58 2003

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