[plt-scheme] Scheme contradictions

From: cbarski.25493466 at bloglines.com (cbarski.25493466 at bloglines.com)
Date: Tue May 2 22:03:47 EDT 2006

> Here now is the contradiction. A programming language called Scheme yet

> there seems little scheme as a term refering to a goal there. I look around

> and I see alot of people each with a different implimentation pretty much

> repeating the work of each other. I see a language like Ruby created by
> guy in Japan already eclipsing Scheme with 25 years head start. 

These are common concerns that are often expressed in the Lisp/Scheme community-
I don't have any good answers to these concerns- I think that so far nobody
has been able to figure out how to make a "perfect" programming language-
Every programming language out there makes various compromises... some of
the compromises are theoretical (syntax structure, dynamic vs. static typing,
memory managment) others are pragmatic (design by comittee vs. benevolent
dictator, strong UNIX library support, etc)

Scheme represents one extreme
compromise (simple syntax and highly powerful yet compact core language design)
at the expense of other factors (accessibility to novices) Additionally, the
small size of the Scheme community causes a chicken/egg problem vis-a-vis
strong libraries...

The reason there isn't much noticable "direction" in
the scheme community, I think, is simply because there really is no "direction"
any schemers want to go: Scheme, basically, represents a kind of "maximum"
in terms of language design- Whether it is just a local maximum or an overall
maximum, nobody really knows... Those who use it and have used it long enough
to "get it" are very happy with the way it is right now- Given its mathematical
purity its really hard to see how it could be improved upon very much...

IMHO, if you have a programming project that is complex and you expect will
take 30 years to complete, scheme would be an excellent language to use for
it. If you wish to teach advanced students some theoretical fundamentals about
programming, scheme is a great language to teach them. If you're building
web pages, well... scheme can do amazing things, but you'd probably want to
at least take a peak at ruby, since it's so specialized for this single application-
Ditto with C# and Win32 GUI apps, ditto with C++ and OS development...

Some people argue the Lisp/Scheme community is too happy with the status quo
(for instance, Paul Graham and his Arc ideas) but so far nobody has really
been able to supply any strong proof that any other design can be as good
as scheme at the things that scheme is so ideally suited for...

Barski, M.D. 

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