May 24, 2002
Succintness is Power
Freakin' Paul Graham. I can barely keep up.
Succinctness is Power
Posted by jjwiseman at May 24, 2002 01:50 PM
hmmm...reminds of "Brevity is... wit." .... the sign hanging above the 'Reading Digest' Spelling Bee in the Simpson Episode "Cesspool on the Potomac"
Paul Graham says "It seems to me that succinctness is what programming languages are for." Actually, it seems to me that what programming languages are for is to enable us to explore and clearly express what we mean, realise that meaning as an executing program, and understand and change what we mean later without having to start from scratch. You've said earlier "I place a lot of value on Graham's thoughts on lisp because he's not a fanatic". I'm afraid his recent writings are starting to tend, in my opinion, in that direction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, after without RMS we wouldn't be where we are now.
Paul Graham asks if there are any programming languages that are too succinct. Yes: APL. I enjoyed using it for a graphics course back in the day, but the reason it has not taken over the world is that it is too bloody succinct. I don't just mean in the lines/characters sense that Paul wants to rule out (although that's true too --- the program to print out primes
None of this should be taken to imply that Java is not way too bloody verbose.