[plt-scheme] The perfect teaching language--Is this too much to ask for?

From: Shriram Krishnamurthi (sk at cs.brown.edu)
Date: Sun Jun 14 19:29:03 EDT 2009

> Younger languages can beat Java in ways that Java cannot
> react to -- but they risk similar costs with changes that the future
> will hold.

I cannot improve on Eli's excellent essay, but I can provide concrete
evidence for one of his abstract points: Scala.  (Which, in turn, has
baked in its own inflexibilities.)

I was recently talking to some colleagues who were trying to convince
me that PL people had "missed" a "huge" problem; they were referring
to the language/library distinction (when a library becomes larger
than some mental complexity, it is effectively a language in its own
right).  A good example is the Rails part of Ruby on Rails.  I pointed
out that

(a) this is a well-known problem, but also

(b) the Lisp community has never really had this problem, and

(c) with work over the past ten years (Bawden's, Waddell's, mine, and
finally reaching its pinnacle with Flatt's), we have even managed to
formalize a sufficient (and good) solution to this problem

The poor Java folks have no such end in sight.


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