OT: Power in programming languages.
|From:||Keith Gaughan <kmgaughan@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, January 6, 2005, 14:02|
Chris Bates wrote:
>> > and because there are some things difficult to do in perl which are
>> > easier in C. So succinctness definately isn't all.
>> Nope, it's down to problem domain. It's all problem domain.
> You basically seem to be agreeing with me. I didn't say C was always
> easier. I was just arguing that succinctness wasn't power, and indeed it
> isn't since different languages are designed to do different things
> regardless of how succinct they are.
I disagree with your comparison. You can't compare C and C++ to the
likes of Perl, Java and C++. They're aimed at different problem domains
BTW, I kept on throwing O'Caml in there because I was hoping somebody'd
pick it up. O'Caml manages to work well across both the systems and
applications domains, and its compiler generates code as fast as any
C++ compiler. It's succinct, and it gets out of your way, having type
inference and inforcing neither an imperative nor functional style, nor
does it require you to use objects if you want.
Yet some parts of O'Caml are written in C, particularly things that need
to be close to the metal such as basic heap operations, i/o, and the
But O'Caml is still the more powerful language. Why? Because you have to
worry about fewer things in O'Caml than you do in in C, types and memory
being examples. This is the best measure of power. And it does it
without sacrificing speed.
> Perl, being a high level language,
> is more succinct than C, but there are some things that are difficult to
> do in perl because they're way beyond what it was designed for (a text
> processing and scripting language basically). I would not for instance
> attempt to write an operating system in perl.
The same goes for C. But the reason why Perl is poor for writing
low-level code in is that, like any high-level language, it doesn't
provide direct access to the hardware. It doesn't make sense.
C does, mostly. At least it gives you direct access to memory via
pointers, and many compilers allow you to embed assembly directly into
the code. But does the fact that you need to embed asm in places mean
that asm's more powerful than C? No. Does the fact that people write
bits of their Perl, Python and Ruby programs in C for speed make C more
The amount of time and brainpower a language saves the programmer is a
better measure. Working on the problem is better than code
> Note, we might be talking about different definitions of the word
> power. I'm not talking about ease of doing things. THat isn't power.
> Just because a car has an automatic gear box doesn't mean it's more
> powerful than one with a manual. Power is how much you're able to do
> with something, not how easy it is.
So am I, ergo O'Caml. If you define power by how close you get to the
metal, assembly is obviously what you want. If being able to code close
to the problem domain is how you define power, the likes of Ruby and
Python are better.
C is used as a jack-of-all-trades language. So is C++, and so is O'Caml.
But O'Caml allows you to code closer to the problem domain than either
the others without sacrificing speed. It's more powerful because it
gives you more tools and better tools.
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