Scripting language takes a silicon turn

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Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Vijay Aswadhati-2
FYI:
http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177101584

Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python.

Anyways, this bodes well for scripting languages. It definitely
seems to their era.




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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Boyko Bantchev
On 1/24/06, Vijay Aswadhati <[hidden email]> wrote:
> FYI:
> http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177101584
>
> Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
> on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
> time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python....

I do wonder about that myself.
I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
Ruby, but not Perl or Python.


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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Ben Sizer
On 1/24/06, Vijay Aswadhati <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
> some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
> because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
> For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
> Ruby, but not Perl or Python.

I would be interested to hear why you would not consider Python, as it
has a very similar underlying model to Lua. Is it the syntax you
dislike?

--
Ben Sizer


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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Lisa Parratt
In reply to this post by Vijay Aswadhati-2
Vijay Aswadhati wrote:
Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python.

From what I can tell, such features are only popular amongst people who don't see them for what they are - an ad-hoc, informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp. ;)

Personally, I'm of the opinion that in real world usage, the white space issue is enough to kill the languages utility stone dead, let alone the other flaws it and it's creators glaringly contain.

--
Lisa
http://www.thecommune.org.uk/~lisa/

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

David Given
On Tuesday 24 January 2006 10:24, Lisa Parratt wrote:
[...]
> Personally, I'm of the opinion that in real world usage, the white space
> issue is enough to kill the languages utility stone dead, let alone the
> other flaws it and it's creators glaringly contain.

I wrote a biggish app in Python (http://sqmail.sf.net), and for me the 
whitespace issue was simply non-existant --- I indented all my code the way I 
always indented code and it all worked fine.

Python's big win for me was that it has a huge set of comprehensive, useful, 
powerful libraries. SQMail is a MUA that uses a MySQL backend to store all 
its data. I didn't have to write *any* grunt code for dealing with GTK+, 
MySQL, Mime attachment handling, configuration file parsing, etc --- all I 
did was to import the standard libraries, and they worked.

The language itself is pretty decent as dynamic languages go --- it 
fundamentally *gets the job done*, which is the important thing. Back then, I 
thought it was the bee's knees, because I hadn't had much exposure to better 
languages, and these days I suspect it would irritate me too much to use. (I 
should point out that Lua has an equal number of features that irritate me, 
but because Lua's so small and customisable I'm more willing to put up with 
it.) Also, these days I know how useful real closures and coroutines are, 
which I'm not sure Python supported then. (Generators do *not* cut it.)

Python's big killer feature is the library set, which Lua doesn't have. I 
wonder --- might it be possible to build a Lua-to-Python-extension connector 
to allow Python libraries to be used in Lua?

-- 
+- David Given --McQ-+ 
|  [hidden email]    | "The further you are from your server, the more
| ([hidden email]) | likely it is to crash." --- Woodhead's law
+- www.cowlark.com --+ 

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Lisa Parratt
David Given wrote:
I wrote a biggish app in Python (http://sqmail.sf.net), and for me the whitespace issue was simply non-existant --- I indented all my code the way I always indented code and it all worked fine.

The emphasis being on *you*. When you start having large numbers of programmers, with even larger numbers of editor programs, and yet more whitespace configuration options, keeping everything in check turns into a nightmare. Better to avoid the problem in the first place.

Meaningful whitespace was a stupid idea when Unix make took it up, and it's still a stupid idea now.

Python's big win for me was that it has a huge set of comprehensive, useful, powerful libraries. SQMail is a MUA that uses a MySQL backend to store all its data. I didn't have to write *any* grunt code for dealing with GTK+, MySQL, Mime attachment handling, configuration file parsing, etc --- all I did was to import the standard libraries, and they worked.

Similiar reasons exist for why Perl, PHP, C and it's descendents, Java, Common Lisp, etc. are popular. In some cases they may be de facto standards rather than prescriptive, but they're still available.

Personally I would *love* to see Lua slowly move in a similar direction, with a large number of modular "standard" but optional libraries developed, rather than the seemingly high occurence of wheel reinvention that appears to occur.

I'm unfortunately resigned to the fact my beloved Scheme will never see such utility added to it in a meaningful way.

The language itself is pretty decent as dynamic languages go --- it fundamentally *gets the job done*, which is the important thing. Back then, I thought it was the bee's knees, because I hadn't had much exposure to better languages, and these days I suspect it would irritate me too much to use. (I should point out that Lua has an equal number of features that irritate me, but because Lua's so small and customisable I'm more willing to put up with it.) Also, these days I know how useful real closures and coroutines are, which I'm not sure Python supported then. (Generators do *not* cut it.)

Exactly ;)

Python's big killer feature is the library set, which Lua doesn't have. I wonder --- might it be possible to build a Lua-to-Python-extension connector to allow Python libraries to be used in Lua?

The thing with such large libraries is that they're not difficult to create. I work in a team that does similar with a C based object system. The secret is to build a large *coordinated* set of small, minimalist and reusable components. At each level you tie a handful of lower components together with a couple of screens of source code, until eventually you get to the top with a powerful and expressive system that's brilliant for rapid development.

--
Lisa
http://www.thecommune.org.uk/~lisa/

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo
In reply to this post by David Given
> might it be possible to build a Lua-to-Python-extension connector to
> allow Python libraries to be used in Lua?

See Lunatic Python by Gustavo Niemeyer at http://labix.org/lunatic-python

--lhf

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Boyko Bantchev
In reply to this post by Ben Sizer
On 1/24/06, Ben Sizer <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
> > some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
> > because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
> > For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
> > Ruby, but not Perl or Python.
>
> I would be interested to hear why you would not consider
> Python, as it has a very similar underlying model to Lua.
> Is it the syntax you dislike?

Perhaps because for any purpose I can think of, it seems that
there is a language I would prefer to Python.  That is, not that
Python is too bad, but it is not good enough either.  Or, as
David Given said in this thread, it ``does not cut it''.

Perhaps this is partly a matter of personal taste, but to me
Python is too eclectic, and tends to be even more so with the
new releases.  Is there a single charactersitic feature that
makes Python stand out w.r.t. the rest of the languages?

Python changes over time, borrowing from Haskell, Icon etc.
So do C++, Java and Perl.  IMO, this shows that the design
of these languages suffers serious flaws.  For comparison,
C experienced almost no changes for some 35 years,
because for what it aimed at its design was excellent.  And
fortunately, C is not alone in this respect.

Lisa Parratt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Meaningful whitespace was a stupid idea when Unix make
> took it up, and it's still a stupid idea now.

I don't think that the indentation rule is, or was, ``a stupid
idea'', although I would prefer to be able to use an alternative
style as well (as in Haskell).  First, it is not all the
``whitespace'' that is meaningful, just indentation.
Second, the problem with `make' is not about indentation,
it is about using tabs -- something that one usually doesn't
see, but which can easily, and automatically, change or
disappear without the user even noticing it did.
With the indentation itself I see no problem whatsoever.

Cheers,
   Boyko


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RE: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Alexander Altshuler
In reply to this post by Vijay Aswadhati-2
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 3:40 AM Vijay Aswadhati wrote

> Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
>on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
>time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python.

>Anyways, this bodes well for scripting languages. It definitely
>seems to their era.

Did you ever try to embed Python into multithreaded application?
I spent month for Python and day with Lua.

Alex



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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Enrico Colombini
In reply to this post by Boyko Bantchev
On Tuesday 24 January 2006 14:43, Boyko Bantchev wrote:
> First, it is not all the ``whitespace'' that is meaningful, 
> just indentation.

Unfortunately, 'indentation' is not well defined. You may encounter a source 
file (or section of file, or just a single line) using only tabs, another 
using only spaces, another yet using an impredictable mixture of both (some 
editors do the latter automatically). 
How do you measure 'indentation' when you are maintaining source written and 
changed by different programmers on different editors/OS using different 
settings and conventions at different times? What happens when you paste code 
in the middle of an indented block (having no clear block reference)?

Moreover, relying on whitespace (or, if you prefer, on indentation) makes it 
difficult to have code inside strings, which can be very useful in some 
scenarios. Mixing program-generated code from different sources could be even 
worse.

Last but not least, why have the programmer do manually something that can be 
automated by the editor? I'd rather have Pascal's BEGIN...END (which I 
cordially dislike) than no block delimiters at all.
If C has a design mistake, it's that it doesn't enforce the use of delimiters 
on conditional blocks. But I don't think removing all block delimiters is a 
solution (unless you happen to program on punched cards).

  Enrico

P.S. Sorry for taking the flame bait... this time I couldn't resist ;-)



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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Lisa Parratt
In reply to this post by Boyko Bantchev
Boyko Bantchev wrote:
On 1/24/06, Ben Sizer <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
Ruby, but not Perl or Python.

I would be interested to hear why you would not consider
Python, as it has a very similar underlying model to Lua.
Is it the syntax you dislike?


Perhaps because for any purpose I can think of, it seems that
there is a language I would prefer to Python.  That is, not that
Python is too bad, but it is not good enough either.  Or, as
David Given said in this thread, it ``does not cut it''.

Perhaps this is partly a matter of personal taste, but to me
Python is too eclectic, and tends to be even more so with the
new releases.  Is there a single charactersitic feature that
makes Python stand out w.r.t. the rest of the languages?

Python changes over time, borrowing from Haskell, Icon etc.
So do C++, Java and Perl.  IMO, this shows that the design
of these languages suffers serious flaws.  For comparison,
C experienced almost no changes for some 35 years,
because for what it aimed at its design was excellent.  And
fortunately, C is not alone in this respect.

Lisa Parratt <[hidden email]> wrote:

Meaningful whitespace was a stupid idea when Unix make
took it up, and it's still a stupid idea now.


I don't think that the indentation rule is, or was, ``a stupid
idea'', although I would prefer to be able to use an alternative
style as well (as in Haskell).  First, it is not all the
``whitespace'' that is meaningful, just indentation.

Yes, but the amount of white space that a tab means changes depending on the editor. One unlucky save, and all those tab characters get converted into 20 spaces, and the scoping of your program is essentially randomised.

--
Lisa
http://www.thecommune.org.uk/~lisa/

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Chris Marrin
In reply to this post by Boyko Bantchev
Boyko Bantchev wrote:
On 1/24/06, Vijay Aswadhati <[hidden email]> wrote:

FYI:
http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177101584

Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python....


I do wonder about that myself.
I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
Ruby, but not Perl or Python.

So you didn't hang out with the popular kids in High School then? :-)

Perl and Python are popular because they are fairly ubiquitous and come installed with a rich set of support libraries. And their installation when you don't happen to have them already is like this: 1) download a few megabyte installer (.exe or .rpm), 2) double-click the installer and let it run, 3) go write some applications.

In fact, long ago, Perl was the language of choice because it really was installed on every Unix machine. But Perl is awfully quirky, so people started moving to Python because of its more sane (although still quirky) and powerful syntax, equally easy install, and powerful default support library.

Lua could be the new Python if it had a good installation and support library story. I don't think it even needs the large number of support libraries, just more than what it has today. Of course, Lua's syntax is STILL quirky (~= instead of !=, really? Are you kidding me? :-)

Hmmm. Maybe a language MUST be quirky to be popular!

--
chris marrin              ,""$, "As a general rule,don't solve puzzles
[hidden email]        b`    $  that open portals to Hell" ,,.
        ,.`           ,b`    ,`                            , 1$'
     ,|`             mP    ,`                              :$$'     ,mm
   ,b"              b"   ,`            ,mm      m$$    ,m         ,`P$$
  m$`             ,b`  .` ,mm        ,'|$P   ,|"1$`  ,b$P       ,`  :$1
 b$`             ,$: :,`` |$$      ,`   $$` ,|` ,$$,,`"$$     .`    :$|
b$|            _m$`,:`    :$1   ,`     ,$Pm|`    `    :$$,..;"'     |$:
P$b,      _;b$$b$1"       |$$ ,`      ,$$"             ``'          $$
 ```"```'"    `"`         `""`        ""`                          ,P`

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Lisa Parratt
Chris Marrin wrote:
So you didn't hang out with the popular kids in High School then? :-)

Hell no! I still wear nearly all black and have an undercut verging on a mohawk ;)

--
Lisa
http://www.thecommune.org.uk/~lisa/

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Ben Sunshine-Hill
In reply to this post by Lisa Parratt
On 1/24/06, Lisa Parratt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Personally, I'm of the opinion that in real world usage, the white space
> issue is enough to kill the languages utility stone dead, let alone the
> other flaws it and it's creators glaringly contain.

This seems to be the opinion of virtually everyone I know who doesn't
want to use Python. It was certainly my opinion before I started using
Python in a serious manner. Now that I do, it seems a rather
superficial argument, like disliking Lua because its syntax isn't
"C-like".


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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Chris Marrin
In reply to this post by Lisa Parratt
Lisa Parratt wrote:
Vijay Aswadhati wrote:

Seems to me that the major design choice in picking Python is based
on the availablity of 'generators'. I only dabbled in Python a long
time ago; I wonder what is so 'brilliant' about Python.


From what I can tell, such features are only popular amongst people who don't see them for what they are - an ad-hoc, informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp. ;)

Personally, I'm of the opinion that in real world usage, the white space issue is enough to kill the languages utility stone dead, let alone the other flaws it and it's creators glaringly contain.


But you can make those arguments for evey language. I don't like the way Python defines block scope either, but I also don't see why a language would use '<' for comparison, but use 'and' for boolean operations. I can see no reason for these choices (in both Python and Lua) other than, "let's be different from C". Of course, this arcane syntax is certainly what has drawn plenty of converts to both languages, even though it should be the rich object-oriented constructs (for Python) and the extremely efficient interpreter (for Lua)!

--
chris marrin                ,""$,
[hidden email]          b`    $                             ,,.
                        mP     b'                            , 1$'
        ,.`           ,b`    ,`                              :$$'
     ,|`             mP    ,`                                       ,mm
   ,b"              b"   ,`            ,mm      m$$    ,m         ,`P$$
  m$`             ,b`  .` ,mm        ,'|$P   ,|"1$`  ,b$P       ,`  :$1
 b$`             ,$: :,`` |$$      ,`   $$` ,|` ,$$,,`"$$     .`    :$|
b$|            _m$`,:`    :$1   ,`     ,$Pm|`    `    :$$,..;"'     |$:
P$b,      _;b$$b$1"       |$$ ,`      ,$$"             ``'          $$
 ```"```'"    `"`         `""`        ""`                          ,P`
"As a general rule,don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell"'

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Chris Marrin
In reply to this post by David Given
David Given wrote:
...
Python's big killer feature is the library set, which Lua doesn't have. I wonder --- might it be possible to build a Lua-to-Python-extension connector to allow Python libraries to be used in Lua?

The problem with that (as has been argued here) is that a "big" library for Lua goes against the design principal of small and fast, with plenty of extension capabilities. The problem with briding Lua to Python is that then you need Python on every machine that you want to run Lua on, and the styles of the libraries would probably not match well. You might as well choose a library built specifically for Lua, of which there are many.

I think the problem is that it is too hard to collect together the needed libraries. I believe Lua does need to ship with "a little more" libarary functionality, which is why I am working on osex. But we also need installers for this core and a useful set of extension libraries to make setting up your installation easy.

Maybe we should have something like CPAN, the Perl archive network. I hate the interface to this system, but conceptually it is good. Once you set it up on your machine (and it is included with recent versions of Perl) you can search for a library you want and then ask it to install it. As long as your platform is supported, CPAN will do all the rest.

--
chris marrin                ,""$,
[hidden email]          b`    $                             ,,.
                        mP     b'                            , 1$'
        ,.`           ,b`    ,`                              :$$'
     ,|`             mP    ,`                                       ,mm
   ,b"              b"   ,`            ,mm      m$$    ,m         ,`P$$
  m$`             ,b`  .` ,mm        ,'|$P   ,|"1$`  ,b$P       ,`  :$1
 b$`             ,$: :,`` |$$      ,`   $$` ,|` ,$$,,`"$$     .`    :$|
b$|            _m$`,:`    :$1   ,`     ,$Pm|`    `    :$$,..;"'     |$:
P$b,      _;b$$b$1"       |$$ ,`      ,$$"             ``'          $$
 ```"```'"    `"`         `""`        ""`                          ,P`
"As a general rule,don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell"'

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Chris Marrin
In reply to this post by Boyko Bantchev
Boyko Bantchev wrote:
...
I don't think that the indentation rule is, or was, ``a stupid
idea'', although I would prefer to be able to use an alternative
style as well (as in Haskell).  First, it is not all the
``whitespace'' that is meaningful, just indentation.
Second, the problem with `make' is not about indentation,
it is about using tabs -- something that one usually doesn't
see, but which can easily, and automatically, change or
disappear without the user even noticing it did.
With the indentation itself I see no problem whatsoever.

You're holding up make as a poster child for indentation? It is the worst syntax I have ever seen! I am shocked that it survives from the 60's! It just goes to show that people will literally use anything, as long as it has example source to reference!

--
chris marrin                ,""$,
[hidden email]          b`    $                             ,,.
                        mP     b'                            , 1$'
        ,.`           ,b`    ,`                              :$$'
     ,|`             mP    ,`                                       ,mm
   ,b"              b"   ,`            ,mm      m$$    ,m         ,`P$$
  m$`             ,b`  .` ,mm        ,'|$P   ,|"1$`  ,b$P       ,`  :$1
 b$`             ,$: :,`` |$$      ,`   $$` ,|` ,$$,,`"$$     .`    :$|
b$|            _m$`,:`    :$1   ,`     ,$Pm|`    `    :$$,..;"'     |$:
P$b,      _;b$$b$1"       |$$ ,`      ,$$"             ``'          $$
 ```"```'"    `"`         `""`        ""`                          ,P`
"As a general rule,don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell"'

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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Jeff Sheets
In reply to this post by Chris Marrin
On Tue, 2006-01-24 at 07:46 -0800, Chris Marrin wrote:
> > I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
> > some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
> > because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
> > For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
> > Ruby, but not Perl or Python.

It has always seemed to me that the creators and supporters of Perl and
Python have added every permutation of every feature they could find to
their codebase, simply so they could point and shout out, "See! We got
one of those, too!  Nyah!"  What happens, IMHO, is that they end up
looking like the programming equivalent of a suicidal sculptor's attempt
to recreate the nothingness of being in a framework of mismatched
plumbing and porcelain. (Kitchen sinks and all. :)

Lua then, to me, is the programming equivalent of a Roman marble statue
of Artemis. It is obvious what it represents, what it is made of, and
why it was created. Most people can appreciate it. And though it may be
lacking some plumbing here or there, it gets the job done.

But all languages have their downsides. Not all languages have good
points. And some languages, for me, have the one downside that will kill
my desire to use them. That downside is the lack of memorability. I will
always think of a pickle as an object to eat. I have forgotten all the
wierd Perl syntax. I cannot remember Perl or Python, without constantly
looking at a book. I will never forget Lua.

> So you didn't hang out with the popular kids in High School then? :-)

Bah, I didn't hang out with the popular kids in any grade... until they
started hanging out with me. ;)

> Of course, Lua's syntax is STILL quirky (~= instead of !=, really?
> Are you kidding me? :-)

C++ has &.  In college, I saw many students mess up that one thing.
Though it's taken me a while to get used to using ~=, I can look at it
and say, without doubt, that it must mean not equal, because it is not
==. & in C++ is kludgy. It's one of those things in C++ that I avoid,
simply because it seems to me to be a feature for the sake of a feature.
I'll use it in C++ to get the job done, but I won't like it, remember
why it works, etc.  All because ampersand doesn't indicate to me what
that symbol is supposed to mean in C++.  Thankfully I can't remember any
Perl, so I can't provide you with the many examples in Perl that are
even worse to remember.
-- 


JJS
"If Ignorance is Bliss, I'll take the Pain."


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RE: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Vijay Aswadhati-2
In reply to this post by Ben Sizer
On Tuesday, January 24, 2006 1:55 AM, Ben Sizer wrote:


> 
> On 1/24/06, Vijay Aswadhati <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I am also puzzled by the following: is it that I tend to dislike
> > some languages because they are overly hyped, or is it simply
> > because I find them non-aesthetic and/or uninspiring?
> > For scripting, I would always pick one of Icon, Lua, Rexx,
> > Ruby, but not Perl or Python.
> 
> I would be interested to hear why you would not consider Python,
> as it
> has a very similar underlying model to Lua. Is it the syntax you
> dislike?
> 

Although I do find the indentation model quirky, I have no strong
dislikes or anti-python sentiments; in fact I like most of its
syntax.

I was just wondering behind the process of someone coming to a
conclusion of something being brilliant - in other words what are
the attributes of being 'brilliant'. 

If it was just 'generators' (from my read) I think the author (of
MyHDL) has probably not done enough research in choosing a scripting
language. Or perhaps he did and chose Python for axiomatic reasons
just like BEEP chose XML simply because it was the most popular.




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Re: Scripting language takes a silicon turn

Ben Sunshine-Hill
On 1/24/06, Vijay Aswadhati <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I was just wondering behind the process of someone coming to a
> conclusion of something being brilliant - in other words what are
> the attributes of being 'brilliant'.

"Brilliant" is a term used by electrical engineers when they realize
that not every language is as unfriendly as C or VHDL. ;-) I would say
that Lua and Python are both "brilliant", in that they are both
well-designed languages with elegant featuresets and simple, readable
syntax.

Ben


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