Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
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

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • by djberg96 (2603) on 2004.09.13 10:51 (#34281) Journal
    Here's my theory, which I just *know* you're dying to hear:
    • Advertising. Head to your local bookstore. See the number of Perl and Java books? Now, do you see any Scheme or Smalltalk books? Many people have simply never heard of them, or only heard of them in passing.
    • Difficulty. One can read Learning Perl and have a basic grasp on the language in a very short period of time. I don't think the same can be said of Smalltalk or Scheme, at least not for your average hacker.
    • Syntax. Smalltalk's syntax is annoying while Scheme's is downright alien to anyone without a functional language background.
    • Libraries. Perl and Java both can boast a fat set of libraries. Do such resources exist for Scheme and Smalltalk? Maybe, but I've never heard of them.
    • ROV not significant enough. Why should I switch from <my favorite language> to Smalltalk or Scheme?
    • You have never heard of a Smalltalk library because a huge beautifully designed class library is so inherent to the language that it is not worth mentioning.
    • I don't think any of these fully explain why Smalltalk/Scheme/whatever didn't catch on in the first place (though they would explain why it is so hard for them to catch up after other langauges took root). For instance, if Scheme was a more popular language, you would likely see a lot more Scheme books.

      I also suspect the "Difficulty" and "Syntax" reasons are non-issues if functional languages were people's first exposure to programming. LOGO, for instance, has a functional syntax and has been used to teac

      • I don't think any of these fully explain why Smalltalk/Scheme/whatever didn't catch on in the first place

        True enough.

        I also suspect the "Difficulty" and "Syntax" reasons are non-issues if functional languages were people's first exposure to programming.

        That's a pretty steep precondition for most programmers. The vast majority of programmers today did not use a functional language when first exposed to programming. The switch from an ALGOL derivative syntax and programming model to something fu

        • I agree about the steep precondition. I still remember coming from BASIC to C in the 80s. I struggled to understand how someone could program without line numbers. Even though I agree with the premise that languages such as SmallTalk and Scheme would not seem so alien if these were the first languages that people were exposed to, the reality is that they are not the first language and they're unlikely to become that. Hence, we have a chicken and egg problem that is essentially unsolveable from this appr

      • Advertising. That's reinforcement not cause - there's a market for books because the languages are widely used.
      • Difficulty.One can read "Smalltalk by Example" [unibe.ch] and have a basic grasp on the language in a very short period of time.
      • Syntax. Smalltalk's syntax is simple, consistent, powerful.
      • Libraries... but I've never heard of them Have you ever looked for them? Smalltalk's rich libraries have been growing since 1980.
      • ROV That's why people switch to Smalltalk - get more done, faster, with fewer people.
      • One can read "Smalltalk by Example" and have a basic grasp on the language in a very short period of time.

        Hardly. That book is obscure and very hard to find on the bookshelf or at the bookstore. It is freely available online now, but it wasn't 5, 10 or 15 years ago. And freely available materials do not make a programming language easier to use or learn. Some of the best materials about Python have been freely available since the project's inception, yet the size of the Python community is persists