On 24 Feb 2009, at 13:44, Tom Cloyd wrote:
> A most fascinating thread, coming from a very distant universe, as I  
> do.
>
> As for this use of "^", it is about as needless as yet another poem  
> about a flower. Don't we already have one, somewhere? I fully  
> realize that calculation (computer) languages are not poems, but  
> they ARE containers for thought, and in that they are brothers/ 
> sisters to poems.


There seems to be a fairly clean divide between the folks who like  
language for being language, and those who like language for the  
specific things it can do. I'll admit that I'm one of the former and  
some of my favourite programs have minimal value in the latter sense,  
but the form of them makes my heart soar.

> I'm with Eleanor in loving the exploration of different ways of  
> thinking/working with stuff (and in having an appreciation for the  
> elgance of RPN). A large part of the sheer burst of joy that grabbed  
> me and threw me into the Ruby world, on the occasion of my fifth  
> look at the language, was the delight I experienced upon finally  
> understanding that this language was "working" the notion that  
> everything could be an object, and have access to methods belonging  
> to the class of which it was a member. The sheer elegance of this  
> was new to me and is still a very major delight.

After years of battling with VB, C++ and Java the discovery of Ruby  
was one of those doh! moments. I haven't looked back :)
Ruby and beauty are not always synonymous - it very much depends on  
the writer - but it's a language that I find it hard to be ugly in and  
that I think is a wonderful property.

But then again I've seen beautiful code in C and Assembler, even in  
Pascal (see my favourite book, Programming Languages: An Interpreter- 
based Approach for some wonderful examples) and perhaps one day I'll  
see beautiful code in Nexus. That alone will be justification enough  
for the love and effort its developers are pouring into it.

As for Common Lisp, it reminds me of Esperanto: those who are  
attracted to it seem often to be those least suited to using it  
gracefully and perhaps that says more about them than the language  
itself.

> So, I have to wonder, when meeting up with a new language, if maybe  
> I'm about to hear my first Stravinsky ballet, or perhaps run into  
> something like Spencer Brown's "Laws of form" (1972). Beauty is  
> found in strange places. If we're all lucky, the Nexus project will  
> come up with some we've not seen yet. That would be most excellent,  
> howsoever difficult it may be to achieve.

We abandon the quest for beauty at our peril as it is the keenest  
guide to correctness that we possess. Unfortunately an age of  
aesthetic relativism has given it a bum wrap by attributing its  
quality to things which patently aren't beautiful and are far from  
correct.

And once more RT has gone completely OT :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason