On 18 f=E9vr. 09, at 10:04, David A. Black wrote:

>   This message is in MIME format.  The first part should be =20
> readable text,
>   while the remaining parts are likely unreadable without MIME-=20
> aware tools.
> Hi --
>
> On Wed, 18 Feb 2009, Juan Zanos wrote:
>
>>
>> On 18 f=E9vr. 09, at 09:07, Robert Dober wrote:
>>
>>> On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 2:38 PM, Rick DeNatale =20
>>> <rick.denatale / gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 2:40 PM, David Masover =20
>>>> <ninja / slaphack.com> wrote:
>>>> def foo bar
>>> That is very hard to read indeed, but why?
>>> def foo( bar )
>>> This is not so much better!
>>> We are all totally accustomed to the fact that foos and bars =20
>>> designate
>>> the same kind of thing.
>>> I therefore think that
>>> def fact n
>>> is more readable for most people than
>>> def n( fact )
>>> which is nonsense of course (in the particular context).
>>> Naming seems more important than params or not params (of course =20
>>> if I
>>> might say?).
>>
>> Good point.  Syntax isn't all there is to readability.   But it =20
>> does have some effect.
>>
>> In this case the parenthesis don't make anything inherently more =20
>> readable and aren't helpful in resolving the nonsense names.  The =20
>> parenthesis are only meaningful if you already know what they =20
>> mean.  Readability arguments are often tainted by experience with =20
>> previous languages.   And it must be remembered that no programmer =20=

>> is born knowing a previous programming language.  If we insist, =20
>> implicitly or otherwise, that readability means that something =20
>> looks like 'C' or Java or any other language then we place limits =20
>> on how much we can simplify syntax.  I'd actually say that each =20
>> example with parenthesis requires a lot more explanation of why =20
>> they are their, what they mean, what are the syntax rules that =20
>> govern them, etc.
>
> I agree (except for your last sentence). I honestly don't give C or
> Java (or Lisp, etc.) a moment's thought in any of this, when I'm
> writing Ruby. Just Ruby.
>
> One thing I've had to come to terms with, reluctantly (because it
> would be so nice if it were otherwise), is that there is literally no
> such thing as inherent readability. Readability simply does not inhere
> in the notation, any more than it does in a given alphabet.

Ok.  We don't have to agree completely.  We both seem to agree that =20
there are arbitrary aspects to syntax conventions that do not =20
inherently affect readability.   Perhaps where we disagree is that I =20
do believe something can be inherently more or less readable and you =20
do not.    I believe that overly complicated syntax becomes less =20
readable and even more unwritable.   So I tend to prefer a simpler =20
syntax even if it's slightly different from a particular convention.

Cheers,
Juan=20
 =20=