OT: on IDEs and code writing on steroids

Derek Parnell derek at psych.ward
Tue May 19 17:30:49 PDT 2009

On Tue, 19 May 2009 16:09:54 -0700, Walter Bright wrote:

> bearophile wrote:
>> Forth interpreters can be very small, it's a very flexible language,
>> you can metaprogram it almost as Lisp, and if implemented well it can
>> be efficient (surely more than interpreter Basic, but less than
>> handwritten asm. You can have an optimizing Forth in probably less
>> than 4-5 KB).
>> But the people was waiting/asking for the Basic Language, most people
>> didn't know Forth, Basic was common in schools, so Basic was the
>> language shipped inside the machine, instead of Forth: 
>> http://www.npsnet.com/danf/cbm/languages.html#FORTH
>> The Commodore 64 with built-in Forth instead of Basic may have driven
>> computer science in a quite different direction.
>> Do you agree?
> I remember lots of talk about Forth, and nobody using it.

It can quickly degenerate into a write-only language because it encourages
one to extend the syntax, and even semantics, of the language. It takes
extreme discipline to make a Forth program maintainable by anyone other
than the original author. 

The other difficulty with it is that most people don't use Reverse Polish
Notation often enough for it to become second nature, thus making it hard
for people to read a Forth program and 'see' what its trying to do.

However, it has its own elegance and simplicity that can be very alluring.
I see it as the Circe of programming languages.

Derek Parnell
Melbourne, Australia
skype: derek.j.parnell

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