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chromatic (983)

chromatic
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Journal of chromatic (983)

Friday July 20, 2007
03:25 PM

People Keep Using That Word!

[ #33853 ]

However, Perl is not really capable of DSLs...

Back to Perl, by Cosine Jeremiah

I seem to recall writing several parsers in Perl. Perhaps the author was thinking of PERL, a so-called language with a confusingly similar name which stubbornly resists the efforts of even the best programmers to do anything useful.

I can't understand that phrase one bit, unless I change the meaning of at least one of the nouns substantially.

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  • I think he is complaining about the fact that he needs to write sub { ... } instead of do ... end, somewhere in there. Other than that, I cannot parse his post into anything intelligible.

  • In my day job I spent a few hours today working in Perl. Having been using Ruby for over six years now I am quite familiar with how lacking Perl is in comparison.
    I've spent several hours using language A, using my several years experience using language B I will explain how language A sucks. Doesn't this seem like a fallacy? It certainly flipped my bozo bit.
    • When I am emperor, I will have everyone who says "DSL" in apparent seriousness when describing an API beaten, except Martin Fowler.

      • So, we need a different term then. I've heard "external" vs "internal" but I'm not too keen on it. Generally speaking people won't know the difference.

        What about "Idiomatic Domain Language"? I dunno, I'm just flailing here, but if you don't come up with a different term then people will keep using "DSL" inappropriately until you do. And no, they won't just be satisfied with "API", like it or not.

        • I'm fond of "API that doesn't suck" myself. I doubt DSL mania would have happened if Sun hadn't been torturing programmers [sun.com] for the last 10-15 years.
        • And no, they won't just be satisfied with "API", like it or not.

          Matz forbid they stop their superlative language design sessions to do what the rest of the programming world does once in a while: call and sometimes write functions.

          I guess slapping a colon on the front of your identifiers gives you magic powers or something, like wearing your underwear outside of your pants.

          • ObKickAssSemiRelevantSong: Lazyboy, "Underwear goes inside the pants."

            Face it: without a colon, you'd also be much less (excretionarily) concise and pleasant to be around ;).

  • This sentence you wrote in one of your blogs [oreillynet.com] sums it up for me: "If I'm confused about what a DSL is, you must be too." You can't even imagine that other people can understand something if you can't. You assume that if people aren't using words in a way you understand, then they must be wrong, or stupid. However if, as you said, the people at that Ruby conference were using "DSL" every ten minutes, then apparently they understand what they're talking about among themselves. So maybe it's actually you who do

      • No, I think understanding that we're talking about internal DSL's, not external DSL's, is a Good Thing.

        But, I suspect you already know the difference. :/

        • You're much better at Ruby than I am, and you have much better connections to and insight into the Ruby community than I do. Can you explain the quote from my original post, or was my initial impression correct that it's (at best) incorrect?

          • I tuit "Perl is not really capable of DSLs" to mean either, "Perl is not very well suited for internal DSL's" and/or "Ruby looks much nicer for internal DSL's".

            Whether or not you agree with the translation(s) is another matter. :)

            • I tuit it to mean “I have used Perl for not long enough to figure out how my Ruby knowledge might transfer.”

            • I can understand different preferences for different languages, but it's awfully difficult not to read severe and ignorant jassackery into the verb phrase "is not capable of".

              Then again, I don't think I can believe in internal DSLs until I see one with syntax or semantics different from the host language, so I already lacked the inclination for a charitable interpretation.

    • You can't even imagine that other people can understand something if you can't. You assume that if people aren't using words in a way you understand, then they must be wrong, or stupid.

      I would appreciate very much if you refrained from telling me or anyone else what I think. Thank you.