Questions involving the design and structure of programming languages.

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3
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1answer
116 views

Documentation Generation - FiM++

This is a question I originally asked on Stack Overflow, but as a conceptual design question as opposed to a technical issue, I believe it may be more appropriate, or possibly have alternate parallel ...
3
votes
2answers
797 views

Simplifying C++11 optimal parameter passing when a copy is needed

It seems to me that in C++11 lots of attention was made to simplify returning values from functions and methods, i.e.: with move semantics it's possible to simply return heavy-to-copy but ...
3
votes
2answers
87 views

Why aren't field-like events implemented as a list of delegates?

tl;dr: Why are field-like events implemented as a single delegate field? Wouldn't it be more straight-forward to use a list of delegates, thereby eliminating the null special case and avoiding all the ...
3
votes
1answer
347 views

Question about Java nested classes design decision

I was shocked today to discover that this code compiles cleanly in Java: public class A { public static class B { private static void x() {} } private static class C { private /* So, ...
3
votes
1answer
476 views

Giving variables default values vs. treating accessing an undefined variable as an error

Having messed around with several scripting languages and being a bit of a linguist, there seems to be a way to divide dynamically typed languages into two groups: languages that give variables a ...
3
votes
6answers
357 views

Would the concept of source code layers be of any use?

I'm talking about something like layers in photoshop, except they apply directly to the source code. For example, in pseudo-code... inventing what some project might look like - say a computational ...
2
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6answers
1k views

Why is an interface in Java not allowed to have state? [closed]

There must be a good reason why Java designers didn't allow any state to be defined in interfaces . Can you please throw some light on this aspect of design decision ?
2
votes
6answers
859 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
657 views

how can python interpreter recognize code block

The most unusual aspect of Python is that whitespace is significant instead of block delimiters (braces → "{}" in the C family of languages), indentation is used to indicate where blocks begin and ...
2
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3answers
469 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?
2
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2answers
240 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" ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
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3answers
373 views

Why are the arguments for substring functions mismatched?

In many languages, the substring function works like this: substring(startIndex, endIndex) returns the substring from startIndex until endIndex-1 (if you view startIndex and endIndex as 0-based) / ...
2
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3answers
676 views

What could be the advantages and disadvantages of decay of Nd arrays to N-level pointers?

I have been thinking of a couple of possible extensions to the C language which I'd like to know the opinion of others about.1 This one is about multi-dimensional arrays. Imagine the following ...
2
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2answers
817 views

What is the reason behind the if syntax of CoffeeScript?

In most other languages the condition comes before the statement to be executed when the condition is met. However, in CoffeeScript (and maybe some other languages) the syntax is: number = -42 if ...
2
votes
3answers
394 views

Why is float the default in the majority of languages?

In programming languages, for represent numbers you have (mainly) two types: Int(s) and floats. The us of Int is very easy. However floats cause a lot of unexpected surprises: ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does JavaScript count array lengths by the last index?

JavaScript seems to calculate the array length property by the number of the last index in the array rather than counting the number of items in the array. Example: var testArray = ['a', 'b', 'c']; ...
2
votes
2answers
230 views

Which numeral systems are useful in computer science?

I am wondering which numeral system different programmers are using, or would use if their language has support for them. As an example, in C++ we can use: Octal by prefixing with 0 (e.g. 0377) ...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

When to use ANTLR and when to use a parsing library

I've always wanted to learn how to write a compiler - I've decided to use ANTLR, and am currently reading through the book (its very good by the way) I'm pretty new to this, so go easy, but the jist ...
2
votes
3answers
320 views

Implementing `let` without using a macro

I'm learning Lisp, and I've just gotten to let, which I don't quite understand (the implementation of). A common definition for it is given in terms of lambda as a macro. However, nowhere have I ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Advantages of having numeric data types as classes rather than primitives [closed]

I was wondering about why some languages choose to implement numeric types (boolean, integers, floats, characters etc.) as classes/objects (eg. Kotlin) and some as primitive types (eg. Java). I am ...
2
votes
1answer
963 views

What source code organization approach helps improve modularity and API/Implementation separation?

Few languages are as restrictive as Java with file naming standards and project structure. In that language, the file name must match the public class declared in the file, and the file must live in ...
2
votes
2answers
398 views

What is the logic behind the use of different arrows (-> <-) in Haskell?

I've been thinking about language design lately, and reading over some of the new things in Haskell (always a nice source of inspiration). I'm struck by the many odd uses of the left <- and right ...
2
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1answer
298 views

Is a partially familiar scripting language desirable?

Given that a program (under development) needs a scripting language, and that for various reasons it's not possible to use an off-the-shelf one as is, I'm considering basing it on the syntax and some ...
2
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1answer
316 views

How do you make decorators as powerful as macros?

Quick background: I am designing a Pythonic language that I want to be as powerful as Lisp while remaining easy to use. And by "powerful", I mean "flexible and expressive". I've just been introduced ...
2
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1answer
403 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
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3answers
225 views

Conditional construct for a kleenean data type

I was thinking of an hypothetical programming language with a kleenean data type which would implement Kleene's three-valued logic. To sum up, it's an extension of the boolean data type with the three ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is function overloading in general considered Evil? [closed]

Recently I found about two new programming languages(Vala and google's GO) which don't support method or function overloading and intend on not supporting them in the future ever! The creators of ...
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6answers
961 views

why no hasLock/testLock on mutexes

looking through the docs of posix' pthread_mutex_t and window's mutex and CRITICAL_SECTION I noticed there is no easy way of checking whether the current thread holds a specific mutex posix' ...
1
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3answers
168 views

Does overriding a method affect a superclass's call?

I'm trying to understand some of the nuances of inheritance but I can't find an answer to this question. Consider the following: class SuperClass { method foo { print "in SuperClass.foo" ...
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3answers
392 views

Inc/dec vs +=/-=

I'm looking at a programming language design decision that's difficult to make precisely because there seems to be no objective basis for choosing one option over the other. The question is, given ...
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2answers
362 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, ...
1
vote
3answers
331 views

Programming language features that help to catch bugs early [closed]

Do you know any programming language features that help to detect bugs early in the software development process - ideally at compile-time or else as early as possible at run-time? Examples of ...
1
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2answers
172 views

What are/would be the characterists and applications of a programming paradigm where functions can't have statements?

Suppose there is a language where, instead of statements, functions could only be defined in relation to other functions and operators such as partial application and composition. What would be the ...
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3answers
85 views

Property-level value transformation for indirect object casting

Does any programming language exist to support the explicit, property-level object copy? For example, assume this code: public class Student { public string Name { get; set; } public ...
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2answers
266 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 ...
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3answers
197 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. ...
1
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2answers
114 views

What is meant by “redundant, but not duplicative” in the Steelman language requirements?

The Steelman language requirements have this: The language shall require some redundant, but not duplicative, specifications in programs. I think I can see the underlying idea (that re-stating ...
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9answers
897 views

The New Programming Language & BCL for the Cloud [closed]

Let's say you need to implement a new programming language and BCL designed specifically for operating in the cloud (it won't be used on client machines ever). It should be optimized for cloud ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Is unifiing ADTs with typeclasses possible?

When i was thinking about language design i got an idea that ADTs (Aglebraic Data Types) and typeclasses could be the same thing. They can both represent a group of types, but in haskell they are not ...
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2answers
166 views

“every statement and declaration an expression that yields a value” why?

At the end of the answer to "Can I do ++x and x++ in Python?" on this page: http://norvig.com/python-iaq.html, you can read: [...] I'm with my fellow Dane, Bjarne Stroustrup, on this one. He said ...
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2answers
214 views

Why is object-level privacy difficult to use as a paradigm, and why is it desirable?

I have heard a prominent language designer remark that no language today enforces real object privacy, and we are still unsure whether it is possible in practice to design a language that does. ...
1
vote
1answer
316 views

Why is Throwable initCause designed to be called only once?

I find it really odd that the initCause method of Java's Throwable class can only be called once, or even not at all (if the constructor accepting a Throwable was used). This makes exception chaining ...
1
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1answer
343 views

Could you blend java and javascript? [closed]

As a developer who spends most of my time in either Java or Javascript these days, I have this fantasy about a language that blends the two of them together. I'm always missing something from one or ...
1
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1answer
95 views

Thinking about a language for build definitions

I want to write a little tool that parses build definitions and converts them to a ninja.build file. It should not abstract compilation like CMake or Meson, but be similar to make in that you manually ...
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2answers
298 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 ...
1
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1answer
235 views

Could it be possible to add the integer type to the ECMAScript standard?

In JavaScript, every number you will ever use will always be represented with what C programmer would call a double. The official type is I believe number. If I recall correctly, that fact was ...
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2answers
368 views

Should I use a formal grammar for my interpreted scripting language

I have a scripting engine I just published as an open source project. It's been sitting on my harddrive waiting for about a year. My engine of course isn't complete in any way, but it does work for ...
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2answers
257 views

Requiring multithreading/concurrency for implementation of scripting language

Here's the deal: I'm looking at designing my own scripting/interpreted language for fun. I'm only in the planning stages right now; I want to make sure I have a very strong hold on exactly how I will ...
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0answers
45 views

Rationale behind CSS height with percentage value

I've been using CSS for a few years, but there are some "quirks" that I cannot quite fathom. One of them is the height property when specified with a percentage. To quote the CSS 2.1 Specification ...