Posts tagged with "opinion"

The Many Faces of an Undying Programming Language

July 20, 2020 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, lisp, common-lisp, scheme

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while now: one anecdotally comparing programming languages in the Lisp family. I consider myself to be a Lisp hacker. Perhaps that much was obvious from the letter λ adorning my website's header, a reference to the λ-calculus which inspired John McCarthy to design the first LISP [1]. Yet, "Lisp hacker" likely means little unless you, too, consider yourself to be a Lisp hacker. Calling yourself one seems carry some level of unstated meaning. Indeed, some identify with more specific groups. "Schemer," or "Guiler," or "Racketeer," or "Clojurist." But "Lisp Hackers" ⊇ "Schemers". There is commonality shared among all, or at least most, of these programming languages, and the Lisp hackers recognize and appreciate that commonality – the characteristics that make a programming language a Lisp. Homoiconic syntax, powerful metaprogramming facilities, and editor support that, in my opinion, is unparalleled. (Yes, I am alluding to GNU Emacs.) This article, however, is concerned with the differences. In it, I will be considering the specifics of each dialect, and whether or not those specifics make for a language I would want to use to develop a new piece of software.

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First Impressions of the Myrddin Programming Language

January 05, 2020 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, myrddin

It's been over a year since I last wrote about contenders for the throne that C currently sits upon, so I'll spare you the prosy introduction and cut to the chase. I'd like to share some thoughts on my recent foray into a little programming language I came across while browsing lobste.rs some years ago: Myrddin, the pet project of Ori Bernstein. From the language specification, "Myrddin is designed to be a simple programming language. It is designed to provide the programmer with predictable behavior and a pragmatic set of semantics, providing the benefits of strong type checking, generics, type inference, and modern features with a high cost-benefit ratio. Myrddin is not a language designed to explore the forefront of type theory or compiler technology. Its focus is on being a practical, small, well defined, and easy to understand language for work that needs to be close to the hardware. Myrddin is influenced strongly by C and ML, with ideas from too many other places to name." The front page of the website specifically states that "[i]t aims to fit into a similar niche as C, but with fewer bullets in your feet." I see these descriptions and the cat-v-inspired stylesheets as a warning to those who don't appreciate a spartan attitude towards software development. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people.

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First Impressions of the Kotlin Programming Language

December 17, 2018 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, java, kotlin, android

In the introduction of the previous post I wrote for this series, First Impressions of the Rust Programming Language, I alluded to the presence of arguments that programming language safety should be achieved by moving to languages such as Java which run on a virtual machine. While "safety" may no longer be the first thing that comes to mind in discussion of these languages, especially with the hundreds of vulnerabilities in various implementations of the Java virtual machine, it would be unfair to deny that the principle of running programs in a sandboxed virtual machine is safer than running machine code directly. This post won't be making any claims about safety, though, as I'm more interested in writing about my impressions from a language design perspective. So, how does Java fare in this regard?

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First Impressions of the Rust Programming Language

June 08, 2018 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, rust

C is almost 50 years old, and C++ is almost 40 years old. While age is usually indicative of mature implementations with decades of optimization under their belts, it also means that the language's feature set is mostly devoid of modern advancements in programming language design. For that reason, you see a great deal of encouragement nowadays to move to newer languages - they're designed with contemporary platforms in mind, rather than working within the limitations of platforms like the PDP-11. Among said "new languages" are Zig, Myrddin, Go, Nim, D, Rust… even languages like Java and Elixir that run on a virtual machine are occasionally suggested as alternatives to the AOT-compiled C and C++.

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Installing Gentoo: One Month Later

May 28, 2018 ❖ Tags: opinion, linux, gentoo

It seems that the general consensus on "distro hopping," the act of constantly switching between distributions of GNU/Linux, is that it's a bad habit that should be consciously avoided. If you do a search for the term, you'll get articles with titles along the lines of "How I Stopped Distro Hopping." But it's also a term that gets thrown around loosely, and I think that that "distro hopping" is an acceptable practice in a lot of the contexts where the phrase is used. Needless to say, I've "hopped" distributions in the past month, and this blog post is going to describe the highs and lows of that experience.

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