Questions involving the design and structure of programming languages.

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4
votes
6answers
413 views

Why isn't there a next operation on enums?

In most popular programming languages like Java and C# there is a way to define enums, which are essentially datatypes with a fixed set of values, e.g. DayOfWeek. The problem is, given a value, e.g. ...
2
votes
3answers
433 views

Functional programming strategies in imperative languages

I've been convinced for awhile now that some strategies in functional programming are better suited to a number of computations (i.e immutability of data structures). However, due to the popularity of ...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is the finalize method included in Java?

According to this post, we should never rely on the finalize method to be called. So why did Java include it in the programming language at all? It seems like a terrible decision to include in any ...
5
votes
2answers
796 views

Is duplicate syntax for defining named functions a bad language design decision?

I am modelling a programming language for fun, and the syntax is heavily influenced by Scala - specifically function definitions. I have encountered a design problem because my language does not ...
40
votes
5answers
6k views

Why was C# made with “new” and “virtual+override” keywords unlike Java?

In Java there are no virtual, new, override keywords for method definition. So the working of a method is easy to understand. Cause if DerivedClass extends BaseClass and has a method with same name ...
2
votes
5answers
449 views

Should sanity be a property of a programmer or a program? [closed]

I design and implement languages, that can range from object notations to markup languages. In many cases I have considered restrictions in favor of sanity (common knowledge), like in the case of ...
0
votes
2answers
245 views

Why doesn't Ruby have implicit conversion of Fixnum into String?

Ruby normally makes things easy. However, it doesn't allow implicitely converting a number to a string: 2.0.0p247 :010 > "a"+1 TypeError: no implicit conversion of Fixnum into String Why is this ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

Benefits of Java in education? [closed]

I hope this isn't too off-topic and/or opinion based. I'm looking for examples and reasons why Java is an acceptable language for education purposes. Here's why: I learned programming on my own in C ...
4
votes
4answers
516 views

Why do arrays in Java not override equals()?

I was working with a HashSet the other day, which has this written in the spec: [add()] adds the specified element e to this set if this set contains no element e2 such that (e==null ? e2==null : ...
3
votes
6answers
283 views

Do you have to have boxing of primitives in OO language?

Is boxing of primitives required in OO languages to keep them consistent with the rest of the object system (generics etc.)? Or is it avoidable - is it possible to avoid any additional performance ...
30
votes
10answers
7k views

If null is bad, why do modern languages implement it? [closed]

I'm sure designers of languages like Java or C# knew issues related to existence of null references (see Are null references really a bad thing?). Also implementing an option type isn't really much ...
8
votes
12answers
2k views

Why don't more languages have the ability to compare a value to more than one other value? [closed]

Consider the following: if(a == b or c) In most languages, this would need to be written as: if(a == b or a == c) which is slightly cumbersome and repeats information. I know my above sample ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is studying an lisp interpreter in lisp so important?

I have seen many CS curriculums and learning suggestions for new programmers that call for the aspiring programmer to study a lisp interpreter that is specifically written in lisp. All these sites ...
9
votes
2answers
434 views

Why is there a new() constraint in C# but no other similar constraint?

In C# generics, we can declare a constraint for a type parameter T to have a default constructor, by saying where T : new(). However, no other kinds of constraints like this are valid - new(string) ...
2
votes
2answers
218 views

Are multi-line comments a critical facility in a modern language?

I'm trying to convince the designers of a language that multi-line comments with an arbitrary start and end are important, and should be included. Currently there is only a "comment-to-end-of-line" ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Storing tokens during lexing stage

I am currently implementing a lexer that breaks XML files up into tokens, I'm considering ways of passing the tokens onto a parser to create a more useful data structure out of said tokens - my ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

What's the reason of choosing PascalCasing over camelCasing or vice versa from a programming language design POV?

I like both but I notice languages that use camelCasing for members sometimes need more adjustments when you want to edit your code. For example (in Python): node.customData() vs ...
1
vote
2answers
250 views

Go-like interfaces + multi-methods make sense?

Thinking about the design of a potential new language, I wonder how related are the concepts of built a OO similar to GO interfaces and multi-methods (I get this from ...
4
votes
3answers
222 views

Classes in OOP , methods and attributes memory internals [closed]

I would assume that instances of the same class would actually share their methods, and just have save different attributes in their namespace. How often do you arbitrary add methods to a single ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Derivations in BNF

I get how to do a derivation of a BNF. My text books do a good job of explaining it (much better than the on-line lecture notes of many profs etc). Example below then my questions: <program> ...
1
vote
3answers
352 views

Why did the Sun engineers decided to make Java only call by value? [closed]

Is there any specific reason they decided to go with Call by value? Is it for simplicity?
25
votes
7answers
2k views

Disadvantages of scoped-based memory management

I really like scope-based memory management (SBMM), or RAII, as it is more commonly (confusingly?) referred to by the C++ community. As far as I know, except for C++ (and C), there's no other ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do all <algorithm> functions take only ranges, not containers?

There are many useful functions in <algorithm>, but all of them operate on "sequences" - pairs of iterators. E.g., if I have a container and like to run std::accumulate on it, I need to write: ...
11
votes
4answers
696 views

What are the problems of bringing C++-like const into a language?

I am interested in the idea of C++-like const not that particular execution (like casting away const). Take for example C# -- it lacks C++-like const, and the reason for it is the the usual -- people ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

What negative consequences can arise from this language design rule?

Clarification: the rule is meant to prevent accessing variables that are not declared yet. Clarification 2: the rule mandates that the compiler follows calls to functions which are defined in the ...
5
votes
3answers
396 views

Is there a web-specific reason for the design choices behind the JavaScript language?

With the advent of "the web is the platform", JavaScript is fast becoming the most widely used programming language in the world. However, many tasks that are easy to accomplish in other modern ...
2
votes
3answers
726 views

What are the advantages of pass by value?

I always thought pass by value is a legacy from the early languages, because the designers had never seen anything else. But after seeing the brand new languages like Go adapting the same principle ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

If a variable containing a function gave the function's return instead of a reference to the function, what would an array of functions return? [closed]

I'm creating a prototype scripting language similar to something like Javascript. In my language, every single reference to a variable is actually a function call (a getter function), whether it has ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Language that embraces mutable state? [closed]

There seems to be a trend towards immutable objects, and pure functional programming. While I recognize the benefits, I find it hard to apply these principles to GUI programming, for example. But I ...
3
votes
1answer
319 views

Is there a name for the 'break n' construct?

In a conversation earlier this week I was discussing certain language features, and I realized I don't have a good word / phrase to describe a particular feature. Some languages, such as PHP, have a ...
2
votes
6answers
759 views

Why is PHP's method of comparing different types bad?

I'm working on designing a new programming language and trying to decide how I will do variable comparisons. Along with many different types of languages, I've used PHP for years and personally had ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Are there any ultra high level languages out there? [closed]

Historically a HLL is something like C, Fortran or Pascal and a VHLL is something like Ruby or Python. I am familiar with the terms 4GL, 5GL, DSL and LOP, and those who aren't should read Wikipedia ...
6
votes
3answers
274 views

Clarification about Grammars , Lexers and Parsers

Background info (May Skip): I am working on a task we have been set at uni in which we have to design a grammar for a DSL we have been provided with. The grammar must be in BNF or EBNF. As well as ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Programming Languages “Higher Level” Than Python [closed]

In general, I have been presented with these sorts of heirarchies for programming language abstraction: Assembly < C < C++ < Java < Python where C abstracts less than C++ and so on. You ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

why no native compiler of C# or other “productive” language? [closed]

I've been reading about D and Go and how they aim at being compiled to machine code yet be convenient (like garbage collection, no need to manipulate pointers unless needed) and I agree that there is ...
2
votes
1answer
377 views

Reasoning behind the syntax of octal notation in Java?

Java has the following syntax for different bases: int x1 = 0b0101; //binary int x2 = 06; //octal int x3 = 0xff; //hexadecimal Is there any reasoning on why it is 0 instead of something like ...
-1
votes
2answers
114 views

What are some examples of inverted classical inheritance? [closed]

Are there any examples of inheritance in languages where classes call their subclasses' methods rather than their super classes' methods? It should not behave like traditional inheritance like the ...
24
votes
9answers
1k views

Why most “well-known” imperative/OO languages allow unchecked access to types that can represent a 'nothing' value?

I have been reading about the (un)convenience of having null instead of (for example) Maybe. After reading this article, I am convinced that it would be much better to use Maybe (or something ...
33
votes
3answers
1k views

Does Java development typically involve more subclassing than C#/.NET?

I've recently started looking at Android development. This has brought me back into the world of Java software development. The last time I worked with Java, I'll admit, I didn't understand OOP nearly ...
5
votes
4answers
769 views

Is there a math theory or a model behind programming languages design

I'm trying to understand if a programming languages design is built on some a theoretical model. I came across few links that was describing Programming Language Theory, Lambda Calculus, Formal ...
7
votes
5answers
296 views

In retrospect, has it been a good idea to use three-valued logic for SQL NULL comparisons?

In SQL, NULL means "unknown value". Thus, every comparison with NULL yields NULL (unknown) rather than TRUE or FALSE. From a conceptional point of view, this three-valued logic makes sense. From a ...
6
votes
1answer
419 views

Why appending to a list in Scala should have O(n) time complexity?

I am learning Scala at the moment and I just read that the execution time of the append operation for a list (:+) grows linearly with the size of the list. Appending to a list seems like a pretty ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Variable declaration versus assignment syntax

Working on a statically typed language with type inference and streamlined syntax, and need to make final decision about syntax for variable declaration versus assignment. Specifically I'm trying to ...
1
vote
3answers
188 views

Requiring a specific order of compilaiton

When designing a compiled programming language, is it a bad idea to require a specific order of compilation of separate units, according to their dependencies? To illustrate what I mean, consider C. ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do programming languages allow shadowing/hiding of variables and functions?

Many of the most popular programming languges (such as C++, Java, Python etc.) have the concept of hiding / shadowing of variables or functions. When I've encountered hiding or shadowing they have ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

OOP language design attribute symbol [closed]

I am designing a language, and wondering which character (or string) to use to represent that something is an attribute of something else. In all languages I have used, this is done with a dot - ...
-2
votes
4answers
286 views

What are the advantages of converting empty strings to evaluate to true as compared to false? [closed]

When converting a string to a boolean, what are the advantages of having a programming language evaluate an empty string as true and what are the advantages of having it evaluate it to false?
0
votes
1answer
296 views

Is there any reason zero should still equal false in a new programming language? [duplicate]

I understand that 0 is false because math established that a long time ago and C established it in the programming world, as talked about here. However, other than following established conventions, ...
6
votes
6answers
742 views

xml based programming languages

I was looking at wikipedia - Category:XML-based programming languages. Why would someone take this approach for designing a language? What are the advantages of it? I can only think of ...
1
vote
2answers
317 views

Should ** bind more tightly than !, ~?

Designing a programming language, I'm including the ** exponentiation operator. In Fortran and Python, the two languages I know of which have this operator, it binds more tightly than unary minus, ...