Lars Marius Garshol larsga at ifi.uio.no
Thu Mar 18 09:06:51 GMT 1999

* Rick Jelliffe
| * why are scripting languages not in instance notation? &

Because they would no longer be scripting languages, but instead
unreadable, awkward horrors no one would want to program in. :)

| * why are the patterns in XSL not in instance notation? &

Probably for the same reason: to avoid excessive verbosity and in the
interests of readability.

| * why don't people like LISP syntax 

Probably mainly because they're not exposed to it long enough to
discover that it's actually both readable, beautiful and
extraordinarily flexible. The macro system in Common Lisp is decades
ahead of anything else I've ever seen or heard about. (The same could
be said of the object system, although it's possible that Dylan (a CL
descendant with different syntax) has the same features.)

| (i.e., does the unified syntax actually cause reading panic in
| newcomers: 

With some people, yes.

| it has been widely commented that computer languages with different
| syntaxes each for assignment, declarations, infix maths, and prefix
| functions, such as C and ALGOL family languages have been much more
| successful)?

There are probably other reasons for that, such as that Unix was
written in C, so that all other languages were at a disadvantage.
Also, the chaotic jungle of Lisp dialects in the pre-CL (ie: 1985) era
probably didn't help either. Nor did the (now long incorrect) rumours
of Lisp as a functional, non-OO, untyped, dynamically scoped and slow

If programming languages were competing on the basis of usability and
quality the world would look rather different today. 

--Lars M.

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