On Nov 22, 2005, at 10:51 AM, Stefan Kaes wrote:

> But isn't "drive down the road until you see a stop sign" valid  
> English? And I've never heard "until you see a stop sign, drive  
> down the road"? Although this would be valid German, if translated  
> literally :-)

The funny thing about programming is that I find languages with  
English-like structure to be very annoying. AppleScript and HyperTalk  
are the classic examples.

Apple thought that programming would be more accessible to average  
people if the programming language was as similar to English as  
possible. Maybe it is, but in spite of repeated attempts to learn  
AppleScript, I've found it harder to pick up than Ruby.

Basically, I don't want lots of syntactic variations. I don't want  
ten different ways to express the same thing. I want simple structure  
that relates directly to algorithmic units--decisions, repetitions,  
and so on.

Just because something is a legitimate way to phrase something in  
English, doesn't mean it's a good structure to add to a programming  
language. The classic example there would be the "come from" statement.

Look at the legal system. Contracts there are written in English. Yet  
they are so complex, with their multiple dependent clauses and long- 
winded phrasing, that there are major efforts to try to re-phrase  
them in something more like a programming language, so that people  
can understand them. (Creative Commons, for example.)


mathew