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1 point by akkartik 1541 days ago | link | parent

" I once wanted to design languages such that nobody would need to fork them, but I don't put much faith in that anymore, so I see it as a lower priority."

Welcome! :)

1 point by rocketnia 1541 days ago | link

Er, welcome what? XD


3 points by akkartik 1541 days ago | link

To the club :) It's a pretty select club, I think. Too much effort is expended to avoid forking in the name of 'reuse', IMO.

But reuse in what context? Reuse all across the universe? I think the notion of reuse is often ill-posed. The only reuse that matters is in the context of a codebase. And as long as a codebase only has one fork of any software you can have unlimited forking in the world without reducing reuse.

(This also kinda feeds into our conversations about namespaces and libraries and backwards compatibility.)


2 points by Pauan 1540 days ago | link

"(This also kinda feeds into our conversations about namespaces and libraries and backwards compatibility.)"

Well, I only care about libraries because it means that (theoretically) one guy can write the code and a bunch of people can use it. The same is true of languages.

This is nice for things that are pretty stable, like regexps. Everybody knows regexps. The syntax is reasonably standardized across implementations. It doesn't make sense to have everybody write their own custom regexp implementation: just write one solid one and use it as a library.

But that only works when there really is a Single Right Way to do it. As soon as there's different goals and priorities, you just end up with a lot of little custom libraries (or lots of forks of libraries), in which case they might as well not be libraries to begin with, since they're only really useful to their original author.

This means you should only write libraries when there's some sort of standard or consensus. If there isn't, just write your code in a very flat simple style, no libraries needed.


As for namespaces... I don't actually care about those for code reuse. Libraries handle code reuse just fine with or without namespaces: look at Emacs Lisp as an example of a language with no namespaces and dynamic scope yet they seem to manage okay. C also has lots of libraries and code reuse yet doesn't have namespaces.

The reason I care about namespaces is that it makes certain things easier to reason about, that is, it reduces the cognitive load needed to design and understand a program. It also makes your programs shorter because when conflicts do arise, you don't need to do things like prefixing all your global variables, like they do in C/Emacs/Python/JavaScript/etc.

Well, that's the theory, anyways... in practice, I agree with you that traditional namespaces are overrated and only mildly helpful while requiring a lot of infrastructure to support them. An overall net loss that can only be recouped by writing many libraries over a long period of time that make use of the namespace system.

But I think Nulan is a bit unique in that it doesn't have traditional namespaces, but its immutable environments give you simple partitioning that I believe reduces cognitive load while not restricting you too much.


1 point by rocketnia 1540 days ago | link

I've responded in a new thread, "Some plans for code reuse":