Fwd: [plt-scheme] Sweet-expressions on PLT

From: Eduardo Bellani (ebellani at gmail.com)
Date: Mon Nov 3 19:01:06 EST 2008

Hey there Ernie,

This thread, at least from my point of view, is about a request to help a
newbie with the adaptation
of a software that works on a version of scheme (guile) to PLT.
It kind of deviated a bit on if scheme is hard to read,which I think so, and
provided a link to a lengthy argument
which I agree with
(Sure it's a newbie opinion, but what the heck).

Keep in mind that I'm liking the language, and I am finding the experience
very rewarding. But it isn't about popularity
mate. I've learned ruby 3~4 years ago, here in Brazil, Florianopolis for a
study at a security lab I worked for.
Nothing to do with rails initially for me. I lucked out that someone
released a great web framework
in a language that I had familiarity with, so I began to work with that.

I research languages based on merit and curiosity, not hype or popularity. I
do think the syntax
provided by this software (sweet-expressions) fits my mind better, and I
think that it would make
the process of building a case for it's adoption easier. It's not
inflexibility, because if I suffered from
that I would have stayed within my (popular and embarrassedly hyped)
ruby/rails domain.

Instead I've convinced a couple of web developers friends I know to research
alternatives to make the case
that ruby/rails isn't a silver bullet for web dev, and that there are great
alternatives so we can present
them in some lectures I'm giving at a local university (I've delegated
erlyweb and seaside for them :P).

Hugs mate, and thanks for the valuable opinions

On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 9:45 PM, Ernie Smith <esmith at acanac.net> wrote:

> Eduardo Bellani wrote:
>> I'm looking at sweet-expressions not as a way for me to learn scheme more
>> easily (that
>> would be cool, but it's not my main goal), but to teach it/showcase it to
>> other people,
>> because what I think the "problem" sweet-expressions fix is the
>> readability of the code,
> There has been no case made at all here for the proposition 'scheme is hard
> to read'.
> The only case made so far is 'parens are hard to count without assistance'.
> Indenting without assistance is even harder because  tabs are invisible,
> spaces
> are variable in size and browsers move things around.
> Yet nobody leaps to the conclusion that this implies that Python is
> unreadable.
> Let's keep our heads and not connect from paren counting  to scheme
> unreadability either.
> The fact is, there is no need to count parens.
> Whether a program is readable or not depends on of how well the expression
> of the problem and its solution matches the existing familiar language(s)
> of the problem
> domain.  It is in those familiar languages that one gains most of the
> necessary
> understanding of the problem that needs solving.
> Scheme shines at that.  It can be bent to the needs of the problem
> domain  in order to solve the problem well and clearly.  That makes scheme
> eminently readable in my book.
> So if it ain't broke.. don't fix it.
> Here is the elephant in the room:
>  This thread is not really about readability, it is about popularity.
> A thundering herd of people locked into an inflexible mind set
> will find everything hard to read except what fits strictly inside
> that mindset.  Syntax sugar won't change that.
> Your only hope with them is by attrition, use it yourself, let
> them see the results and get curious.

Eduardo Bellani


"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law;
all the rest is commentary." The Talmud
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