Web pioneer hits critics with Lisp gauntlet
Best known for his pioneering early 1990s work on web development and spam filters, Graham announced in 2001 he was working on an economic version of Lisp, one of the oldest languages still in regular use for production systems - with Cobol and Fortran - that’s used in artificial intelligence programming and considered something for “serious” developers.
9/11, the dot-com bust, Katrina… a whole lot's happened since Graham's pledge, but people have hung on in eager anticipation of his work.
After seven years' work, though, Graham has delivered what's being considered an incomplete version of Arc. Apparently Graham decided now is the time to get Arc out into the world in the form of a compiler that generates MzScheme code.
Unsurprisingly, the reaction has been mixed with some applauding how Arc strips the Lisp language down to its bare essentials. But other commentators have expressed disappointment. One view says Arc is merely an extension to Lisp - an extendable language - so its not really new at all. Another view is that Arc is only a thin layer (and not the right one) on top of the Lisp dialect Scheme.
Graham has now thrown down the gauntlet to supporters of other programming languages, challenging them to come up with a shorter version of an Arc code example to read and display a field on a web page. Graham said he doesn't usually refute criticisms directly but would this time as the main complaint is: “That I don't seem to have had to work hard enough writing it.”
Coals to Newcastle....?!:-)
"As any competent programmer or systems analyst will tell you the clever bit is writing the algorithm -- once that's set in stone the actual language that it gets implemented with is irrelevant" ...
And that clever bit will not need to be written down, Greg, especially whenever "Mission Critical"?
I agree with your post.although I would say that there is a universal programming language but it is stealthy, which some might say would be to stay healthy but it is really only looking for the right form of simple words easily transcribed into any language/embedded into every brain/supersubconsciously.
Work in AI Progress, Greg, at least IT is in Magical Mystery Turing Fields.
Not another round of stupid, uninformed language wars.
As any competent programmer or systems analyst will tell you the clever bit is writing the algorithm -- once that's set in stone the actual language that it gets implemented with is irrelevant.
This has never been more true than today, where a loop in C++ is no longer any faster than a loop in VB or C# or LISP or anything else (apart from perhaps some forms of Assembler). Since all executable files are decompiled as they run into machine instructions and since all the software most people will ever be writing in their career will be aimed at WinDoze, UNIX or OSX it matters not a jot as long as they know what they're doing (sadly an assumption we can no longer take at face value).
“Mission critical” stuff (whatever way you care to define that) is never (or at least seldom) written in mainstream languages with mainstream constructs anyhow.
And with the overweaning insistence on the use of .net these days the chosen language really is totally irrelevant. The end result is an executable that will be as equally good or bad regardless of the language used to implement it.
Forth still has modern day derivatives -- PostScript is a descendent of Forth and is embedded in every PostScript printer.
LISP is still used by its adherents but most know that what they do could be done equally if not better using something else. The reason that there is no universal programming language is laziness. Most people know what they like and stick to it.
Age of Hardware
"...edit-save-compile-link-run..." or F6 as some of us know it by...
(Sorry, couldn't resist)