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1 point by waterhouse 2530 days ago | link | parent

Namespaces solve the problem flawlessly only if you plan for no one to work on or read anyone else's code, ever.

Taking '- as the example: there are a few non-obvious things about it (how it works with more than 2 arguments, or how it works with 1 argument), and people could reasonably end up with different versions of it (I do think the current version is best, but I wouldn't blame anyone for not thinking about the 3-or-more-variable case or for implementing it differently).

This is not a problem if you use '- as a utility in the definition of your library functions and someone else just imports the exported functions of your library and uses them. But if you intend to, say, paste code on the Arc Forum and expect anyone to understand it, or if you want people to be able to download the source code of your library and make improvements to it, then there's a cost to every non-standard definition you use: the reader has to learn it. If the language doesn't provide "map" and "let" and "with" (which are certainly not primitive; in fact, they're defined in arc.arc), then either you don't use those operators (and your code will suffer for it), or you do use them and that's one more thing the reader needs to learn to understand your code. It's not the end of the world, it's not a game-breaker for all projects, but it's one more obstacle to people understanding your code, and if you can get rid of it, then that is all to the good.

This is why getting people to agree on a good common core language is a good thing even if the language supports namespaces.



1 point by rocketnia 2530 days ago | link

...getting people to agree on a good common core language is a good thing even if the language supports namespaces.

That's a good point. ^_^ I don't use Anarki- or Lathe-specific stuff in my examples if I can help it. And I recently mused on[1] the trend for a language to incorporate a lot of features in the standard so as to improve the common ground, so I should have seen that point to begin with.

[1] http://arclanguage.org/item?id=13139

Namespaces solve the problem flawlessly only if you plan for no one to work on or read anyone else's code, ever.

I've sorta been banking on the idea that everyone programs to their own languages of utilities anyway, and that each of those languages can be talked about, accepted as a common topic, promoted by its proponents, and standardized just like language cores can. Certainly CMSes and game engines have those kinds of communities. :)

Multiple independently developed libraries won't always work together well enough to all be clearly canon components of the language's identity, but I think they are more likely to be interoperable than are things designed from the outset to be entirely new languages.[2] So I don't think it's important for the core libraries to be cutting-edge in practice. The core can fade into the background to a degree.

I haven't thought about this stuff very deeply yet, and it's not rooted in a lot of fact, so please feel free to disillusion me. ^^

[2] I don't mean to suggest there's a well-ordered expected value of interoperability. Whether a library is designed or used in an interoperable or impregnable way is sorta relative and idiosyncratic. One more avenue for interoperability could even be annoying if people come to depend on it in poorly prepared-for ways. ^_^

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