[r6rs-discuss] Nothing to see here, just another dead language, move along folks (was: Case blahblah)
jmarshall at alum.mit.edu
Mon Feb 23 15:30:25 EST 2009
On Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Guillermo J. Rozas <gjr6765 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I wish I knew what it was that makes the Lisp family of languages so
> repulsive to most engineers/programmers. Of course, the premise is
> that it is only one
> thing, but it may be more than that. If we knew, we might consider
> I know that the prefix notation and the parentheses are part of it.
> I used
> to dismiss the complaints against them as 'sour grapes', but I'm
> to believe that there is more to it than that.
> It may not be the primary reason, but it is certainly one.
> And it is the one that they almost invariably give you first, so perhaps
> we should take them at their word.
Scheme and Lisp force you *think* from the get-go. Most engineers
and programmers hate to do that and it makes them uncomfortable.
Starting a program in Java or C is easy. There's a pile of boilerplate
you can type without thinking about it, and it `feels' like you're
programming. Then you have to haul out the bag of tools like the
compiler and the linker and makefiles or ant. There's a lot of busy
work needed just to get going, and you feel like you've accomplished
In Scheme or Lisp, you start it up and there you are at the REPL.
You have to decide what your program is going to do. You can't
waste time writing boilerplate (it's unnecessary), designing data
structures (just cons one and specialize it later), figuring out how
to build complex inheritance hierarchies (do that once you know
what you are doing), you have to dive into the problem right away.
If you are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, then the
REPL is a great place to play. If you prefer to plan ahead so you
don't make mistakes, a REPL is a very uncomfortable place to be.
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