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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The assertion that keeping a grammar small reduces the learning curve of a language with lots of features baffles me.

    It shouldn't baffle you. It's an old prejudice, and it needs to be examined in context.

    It dates back to the bad old days, when computers were small, languages were simple and static, keyboards sucked, no one had good typing skills, and programmers had to use different languages periodically. Or, worse yet, they had to switch between this quirky extended version of a pre-standardized language and that quirky but differently extended version of the same pre-standardized language.

    The hardest thing to do was to get code past the compiler. And most of the time, something would just slightly be amiss, and the compiler would spit back some form of a 'syntax error'. Whether it was a missing comma, a missing semicolon, a missing 'END' token, a misplaced identifier, a misunderstood identifier or whatever -- it was all just a mess of syntax errors.

    We're past all that now. Today, the syntaxes come and go, and our highly evolved 21st Century Brains can hold more than one syntax at a time. Plus, the syntaxes all kinda melded into a zone of small variation (excepting bf, of course). And the hardest thing isn't getting code past the compiler, but learning the scope, capabilities, quirks and behaviors of the standard library, 3rd party libraries, and the dynamics of the runtime environment. Syntax is easy, and if you can't remember all of it, your IDE or code highlighter probably will.

    All of which means, anyone who is still talking about syntax and big grammars being hard is still living in the 1970s and 1980s, laboring under these old prejudices, and really isn't worth engaging in a debate about modern programming.

    • All of which means, anyone who is still talking about syntax and big grammars being hard is still living in the 1970s and 1980s, laboring under these old prejudices, and really isn't worth engaging in a debate about modern programming.

      I get the feeling a fair few of the people who say these things have only used one or two languages in the Algol family and haven't ventured much outside the realm of procedural/OO programming. Maybe I'm lucky that my first programming language was C-64 BASIC and I switch

      • It really is a pity that people with such shallow experiences have such superficial reactions to different programming idioms.

        It really is a pity that people with no understanding of foreign policy hold court on what their nation's military strategy should be.

        It really is a pity that people with no background in either mathematics or economics have such shallow views on foreign trade.

        This problem is not endemic to us. These people are idiots. There is no chance in changing their mind, or educating them by pointing out the latent prejudices in their arguments, or any other means for that matter. Just walk away.