Re: Heresy? Re: DSSSL WWW Enhancements

Subject: Re: Heresy? Re: DSSSL WWW Enhancements
From: "G. Ken Holman" <gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 20:53:40 -0700
At 10:51 97/05/19 -0700, Earl Hood wrote:
>I think James was more accurate in stating that issue is in
>the way of thinking.  Many programmers are not experienced in thinking
>in a functional, side-effect free way.

As testimony, my biggest hangup in learning DSSSL was changing the way to
think, not changing the way to write.  Back in an undergrad University of
Waterloo course we were given a new language to learn for every two week
assignment, with each language teaching different principles that are
common in families of languages.  The syntaxes varied considerably.

It was embarrasing when I asked the first small core of DSSSL experts "but
how do I declare a global variable?" ... since back in the late 70's there
were no functional side-effect free languages included in those courses I
took.  I'd never tried to solve a problem without side effects ... learning
the syntax was just following the rules of writing down the shape of the
solution ... I couldn't figure out the shape at first.

My thrill with DSSSL was learning the new way of shaping solutions.

>unfamiliar always looks cryptic and gross.  To many, Scheme/Lisp looks
>cryptic.  However, once you understand the language, you understand the
>choice of syntax.  The same can be said for Perl.
>The real problem is people's fears of the unknown.  

Thank you for saying this ... I too think that there should be only one
syntax.  Having another may confuse people and distract them from realizing
that they may have to change the way they think to solve something in
DSSSL, not the way the express their programs in syntax.

Perhaps having an unfamiliar syntax will help people realize that they need
to employ what may be unfamiliar techniques.

But ... as said above, it may just scare them away.

.......... Ken

G. Ken Holman            mailto:gkholman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Crane Softwrights Ltd.
1605 Mardick Court, Box 266,         V: +1(613)489-0999
Kars, Ontario CANADA K0A-2E0         F: +1(613)489-0995
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