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Re: [eiffel_software] Other thoughts on syntax and why it matters

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  • Nicholas Allen
    ... I think this is really a disadvantage! Yes really - bear with me. I think that offering different syntaxes for the same language is no problem. A
    Message 1 of 99 , Jun 1, 2005
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      >
      > Yes, oops, I didn't make that "converting" it thing very clear.
      > This is one thing I love about the .NET CLS. Use whatever language
      > you wish, they can all work together.
      >

      I think this is really a disadvantage! Yes really - bear with me. I think that
      offering different syntaxes for the same language is no problem. A programmer
      could switch syntaxes to use the one they like best. The IDE could even
      automate this so the developer only sees the syntax they prefer.

      The problem with .Net is that all the languages VB, C#, C++ are different
      languages with different philosophies not just different syntaxes. To make it
      all work together changes had to be made to these languages. eg VB.Net is not
      the same language as VB.

      When I am working on a project that has been written in many different
      languages each with different design philosophies this only makes
      maintancence a lot harder. You have to not only do a syntax swap but also an
      idealogy swap. C++ is not a GC language. VB is not statically type safe.
      Eiffel offers multiple inheritance. These are all big differences in language
      concepts.

      In the end .Net had to dilute these languages and stray them somewhat from
      their original design goals so that they could be compatiable with the .Net
      language.

      A better approach in my opinion would have been to offer C like, Pascal like
      syntaxes over one new language with one design philosophy. Syntax could be
      switched at runtime and could be tailored to a developers taste. That would
      be far more consistent and I think is what Thomas is hinting at by suggesting
      a more C like syntax to Eiffel. Not a replacement syntax but one which could
      also be used and the IDE would automatically convert source code to the
      developers preferred syntax. That would be neat I think. It would also make
      clear how unimprotant syntax is to a language compared with the concepts of
      the language.

      While it may then have a C like syntax it would not of course be C (as .Net
      would like you to believe) it would just be more familiar to a C programmer
      and they might be more likely to program in Eiffel if they felt more familiar
      with the syntax.
    • nick_allen74
      ... best to ... I didn t say they were in general. Just in this specific case they are. ... Peter ... Sorry. I have to use this Yahoo web interface at the
      Message 99 of 99 , Jun 9, 2005
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        >
        > Come on, the Java base class libraries are hardly the model of how
        best to
        > code.

        I didn't say they were in general. Just in this specific case they
        are.

        > Yes that was me. Considering that there were only you, me, and
        Peter
        > Gummer in that thread, I'm shocked you couldn't remember me :)

        Sorry. I have to use this Yahoo web interface at the moment and it
        is hard to navigate around and follow threads etc.

        >
        > > But the same can be said for contracts and command query
        separation. That
        > > does not mean we should not have contracts because people will
        abuse them
        > > and cause side effects in them. They are a useful tool just like
        checked
        > > exceptions.
        >
        > Yes but Eiffel is a method, it is the whole package. Java is a
        language,
        > and nothing more.

        Eiffel's method could be enhanced by taking this aspect from Java.
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