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CSSA  October 2009

CSSA October 2009

Subject:

Re: On Scalable Programming Languages

From:

Jacob Beauregard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Computer Science Student Association <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:20:24 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (70 lines)

Nick Husher wrote:
> I'm very surprised that Javascript gets left out in the cold once again. 
> Perhaps because the original article was written before many people were 
> seriously looking at Javascript as a useful language, despite how 
> widespread it is (there are more instances of Javascript 
> compiler/interpreters than any other compiler ever made). The author 
> also conflates object-orientation with classical inheritance: nobody 
> would argue that Javascript is not object-oriented, but it does not 
> support traditional polymorphism or classical inheritance.
> 
> Javascript offers a garbage collector, exception handling, 
> object-oriented programming, functional programming and a 
> highly-expressive syntax. It doesn't offer static type checking, but 
> mainly because there are few real types in Javascript (those are Number, 
> String, and Object) and deep type checking (checking what kind of object 
> an object is) isn't part of the "Javascript way." Javascript instead 
> relies on feature checking instead. It's the difference between asking 
> "Is this a car? (And therefore I know it has wheels)" and asking "Does 
> this thing have wheels?" In Javascript, not all objects of similar kind 
> implement the same sets of methods because instance methods can be 
> added, removed, or modified at run time by other parts of the code. In 
> this context it would be unsafe to statically check the type of an 
> object and make assumptions about its structure as a result; in the 
> Javascript world, not all cars have wheels, so statically determining if 
> an object is of type "car" means nothing.
> 
> Nick
> 

Did my comments about prototypal inheritance and anonymous functions 
bring this up? That's what I was referring to btw. A date object is more 
of a generic thing that is reflective of my current needs in getting 
work done.

After having learned about prototypal inheritance, and actually having 
used it (via javascript), I believe it's completely ridiculous that more 
programming languages do not implement it. It's also ridiculous that 
nobody taught it to me in college.

If there's one thing that makes Javascript painful, it would be that the 
only thing that creates new scope is a function. Of course, I think this 
could also be interpreted as a feature of Javascript that teaches good 
organizational practices. The only other painful thing would be 
differences amongst implementations... Then again, I'd imagine you get 
the same thing with different Lisps, but Javascript has a lot more ambition.


> 
> On Oct 23, 2009, at 6:44 PM, Gary Johnson wrote:
> 
>> Howdy h4x0rs,
>>
>>  Here's a great article (a bit old but still very relevant) by a CS
>>  Professor at Caltech which discusses many features of programming
>>  languages that make them good (or terrible) for building programs much
>>  larger than a few hundred lines.  Some very good stuff here, and I'd
>>  recommend it as fundamental reading for any of you who are still
>>  wondering about the differences between programming languages (yes,
>>  there are BIG differences).
>>
>>  http://www.cs.caltech.edu/~mvanier/hacking/rants/scalable_computer_programming_languages.html 
>>
>>
>>  Happy hacking,
>>    ~Gary
>>
>>  P.S. Can one of you web guys add this link to the CSSA Resources page?
> 
> 

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