07 June 2004

Programming languages

In the course of a thoughtful post on Crooked Timber about why you shouldn't upgrade software, there are two extras of excellence. First, a snide comment about Microsoft.

It would be nice to think that Microsoft is somehow to blame, but this is very unlikely. Although Microsoft’s products are up to trivial tasks like writing letters or making dogs fly or running the electronic voting systems of the United States, no-one would trust them with something like a transactional database, an air-traffic control system or an electricity grid. Applications for stuff like that are usually written in languages you have never heard of ...

Then, a link to a place to learn about languages you never heard of, as well as see some funny things about languages you have heard of.

One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.


The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to PI as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of PI change.


Python is executable pseudocode. Perl is executable line noise.

(That last one was for you, Mr. Brodhead!)

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