Worst ideas/features in programming languages?

claptrap clap at trap.com
Mon Oct 25 10:55:43 UTC 2021

On Sunday, 24 October 2021 at 21:26:25 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad 
> On Sunday, 24 October 2021 at 20:46:01 UTC, claptrap wrote:
>> If you're writing a ton of boolean expressions over and over 
>> using a symbol instead of a word to express a concept will 
>> make it easier. It may increase the learning curve for people 
>> coming to it fresh, but that doesn't mean that is reason for 
>> doing it.
> The only reason for doing it is that C used it. If there is any 
> difference in typing speed then it would favour letters over 
> symbols.

I'm saying it probably initially came from boolean algebra in 
maths. Or maybe even electronics, there was a history of boolean 
logic being expressed with symbols before programming languages 
even existed.

So that's the root. So then you have bitwise operations with 
symbols because math. Then you need to differentiate between 
bitwise and boolean logic so && and || makes more sense than 
using keywords. It's consistent with the already existing bitwise 

>> So you find them slightly faster to read, and anyone who 
>> doesn't use them must be showing off?
> No, I made rational argument for why there are no advantages to 
> using "&&" and "||" over "and" and "or". It is entirely 
> cultural.

See above.

>> But they are not part of control flow, they are part of 
>> expressions.
> Yes, 99% of them in conditional expressions as selectors in 
> control flow. Why being pedantic?

if (num % 3)
if (ptr == null)

Are arithmetic and pointers now control flow? And anything you 
can put in the brackets after an if or while now becomes control 

It's not pedantic to call that argument nonsense.

>> Yeah cause programmers go around showing their code to non 
>> coders to try and impress them.
> No, you don't get the main point. Culture and identity affects 
> preferences and evolution of language, that is a human trait. 
> It is pretty pervasive and well established. There is no reason 
> to assume that programmers are different from other human 
> beings.

Programming languages and natural languages have vastly different 
evolution. People are not subtly changing programming language 
syntax all the time as a means of self expression. It's designed 
once and then (for obvious reasons) pretty much stuck that way 
for ever at least within a given language. And then there's a 
kind of inertia across languages I think because familiar syntax 
is seen as a benefit for a new language.

I mean how long have && and || been in use? 50 years? That's not 
evolution and it's not fashion.

When someone designs a new programming language I dont think they 
are asking themselves how can I design the syntax to make 
themselves look cool, they are either choosing syntax because it 
is what they are used to, or for some other technical reason.

That's the issue I have with what you're saying, I dont think 
language designers are making syntax choices in order to look 
cool. In order to suggest that i think you have to have a 
fundamental misunderstanding of what motivates people to design 
their own programming language.

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