"Patrick Logan" <patrickdlogan / home.com> wrote:

>I would regret having more reserved syntax. The beauty of an simple
>object oriented language, such as Ruby or Smalltalk, is there are so
>few syntactical rules.

It is probably a matter of personal taste.  

I also like both LISP and Smalltalk (as I know you do) but especially
LISP is IMHO a language optimized for computers, not for humans.  This
can also be proofed from LISP's history.  The s-expr syntax was never
meant to be the final solution but people didn't wait and started to
used it.

Perhaps I'm crazy enough to really like Lots of Irritating Superfluous
Parenthesis and see its beauty, but nowadays my opinion is, that a
programming language should be made for humans and I don't care
anymore whether the language's grammar is easy or not.

For me, using "in" is very natural.  There are a lot of cases, where
"for" looks better than "(0..12).each.." or "if" better than the
equivalent message expresion.

I'd even like if I could optionally write

  1 not == 12

as this is exactly what I read: if one (is) not equal 12 then...

  not(1 == 12)

is again computer syntax, but not human syntax.  Just a crazy idea,
but perhaps Larry Wall is right that not computer scientists should
the design the language's syntax but the users.  Or to use a term from
Jef Raskin (of GUI design and Apple fame), one should create a humane
language.

BTW, is there any reason why

  1 != 12

isn't written as

  1 !== 12

which would be much more obvious IMHO.  It's probably "!=" because
everybody knows this from C but that should be only a reason to think
about backwards compatibility...

>Keep it simple. If it can be solved using a message, then 99% of the time
>it should not have reserved syntax.

I disagree.  If people can remember some things very well, then these
things are exceptions (I forgot were I read that, some usability site)
and actually, most people have problems, if things look too similar.
It reduces their speed or they start to make mistakes.  "The semantic
distance is too small" is - I hope - the correct translation for this.

One problem with Smalltalk for a lot of people is (as I observed when
I did Smalltalk classes a few years ago) that everything looks the
same.  There aren't pieces of code they can use as familar anchor
points to read through the code.  It takes a lot of time to see "the
beauty" behind it, the concepts.  And frankly, most people don't care
because they just want to know enough of a language to get their tasks
done.

>If you want to add new syntax then my "shooting from the hip" reaction
>would be you have not got the religion yet.

This sentence (as it says I don't understand Ruby) made me replying,
so please excuse my long rantings.

bye
-- 
Stefan Matthias Aust \/ Truth Until Paradox