William James wrote:
> M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:
>
>   
>> In my younger days, I did a lot of development in assembler languages,
>> and for many years my main high-level language was FORTRAN. Towards the
>> end of my FORTRAN days (about 1990) I was still dropping into assembler
>> for speed, even though the (FORTRAN) compilers were quite good by that
>> time. C compilers really sucked, especially for numerical applications.
>>     
>
> So you know only clunky, crude, archaic languages, the newest
> of which dates back to 1973 or earlier. Someday you ought
> to move out of the dark ages and program in Ruby.
>   
Well ... I'm certainly moving towards Ruby. I just need to unlearn Perl. 
:) I know other languages -- Java, C, Forth, Lisp, and Perl -- but most 
of the programming I do these days is in R. R is hardly a clunky, crude 
or archaic language.

> Now here's where I'm going to put on my asbestos suit. I think the
> difficulty of C development is *vastly* exaggerated by the fans of
> "dynamic/scripting/interpreted" languages! In addition, I think the
> difficulty of *assembler* development is vastly exaggerated
>   
>
> (Note that Eddie is no fan of Ruby.)
>   
Note the asbestos suit. :) I *am* a fan of Ruby, relative to Perl, 
Python, PHP and Java. Ruby is a younger language, so it's learned from 
the mistakes of Perl, Python, PHP and Java. But I don't get paid to 
write Ruby -- I get paid to write R and maintain Perl.

Now R versus Ruby is a tough call. :)
> One or more of these is true:
>
> 1. You don't program in Ruby.
>   
I do as a hobby, but not for a living.
> 2. You're not thinking.
>   
No ... I wanted to challenge some assumptions that have been promulgated 
for a *long* time. In the olden days, it was "assembler for speed, 
higher level languages for portability and ease of use." Now it's "C for 
speed, scripting languages for ease of use." The portability argument is 
gone -- C runs everywhere -- more places than Java. :)
> 3. You're not being honest.
>   
About what?

> 4. You're simple-minded.
>   
About what?
> Compared to Ruby, programming in assembly language is very
> tedious, very error-prone, very time-consuming, and laden
> with a multitude of miniscule details.
I never found it tedious or error prone relative to the high order 
languages available to me at the time, and that included FORTRAN, C, 
Lisp and Forth. Programming in *any* language is tedious, error prone, 
time consuming and laden with a multitude of minuscule details.

In most cases, assembly language typing is as dynamic as Ruby's. Most 
decent macro assemblers let you do things like meta-programming, parsing 
of expressions, domain-specific languages, and a fair amount of 
syntactic sugar. As far as I'm concerned, the only *legitimate* argument 
against assembly language is that it is tied to a specific machine 
architecture. It isn't portable.

> To a lesser degree,
> the same is true of C.  And assembly code, of course, is not
> portable to another processor.