Artificial languages for instructing computers to do steps of computation in order to complete tasks. They allow programmers to communicate with computers.

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37
votes
5answers
5k views

What does “context-free” mean in the term “context-free grammar”?

Given the amount of material that tries to explain what a context-free grammar (CFG) is, I found it surprising that very few (in my sample, less than 1 in 20) give an explanation on why such grammars ...
2
votes
3answers
425 views

Is `isNaN`' a bad design or a has-to-be design with tradeoffs?

My first programming language is python. And recently I'm learning C and javascript. In javascript, there is a design which confused me a lot, default the function isNaN. Put aside its weird ...
5
votes
2answers
431 views

How are scripting languages compiled?

I know the term "scripting languages" is just a subset of programming languages, but I want to refer to programming languages such as Python and Ruby among others. First of all, why don't we need a ...
0
votes
1answer
214 views

Do any languages have syntax for promises? [closed]

I'm really glad that EcmaScript 6 has promises built into the language, but the syntax will still be quite wordy: new Promise(f).then(r => { ... }).then(r2 => ... }).catch(... I'm just ...
2
votes
5answers
334 views

What happened to VM based deployments?

Watched some MountainWest RubyConf 2014 talks and noticed an interesting theme. Many dynamic programming environments back in the old days used to be self-contained VM images, e.g. SmallTalk, ...
73
votes
6answers
9k views

Why was Python's popularity so sudden? [closed]

Python first appeared in 1991, but it was somewhat unknown until 2004, if the TIOBE rankings quantify anything meaningful. What happened? What caused the interest in this 13 year old language to go ...
11
votes
4answers
961 views

Is Language-Oriented Programming practical?

I read this article on Language-Oriented Programming. He points out some weaknesses in the modern procedural/OOP approaches to programming, and suggests a new programming paradigm that will solve them ...
2
votes
2answers
934 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
815 views

In layman's terms, what is left recursion?

According to one page on code.google.com, "left recursion" is defined as follows: Left recursion just refers to any recursive nonterminal that, when it produces a sentential form containing ...
5
votes
7answers
572 views

How to choose a language, when taking in account the community it includes? [closed]

I was reading the following article: Great Hackers The following part grabbed my attention: "When you choose a language, you're also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire ...
5
votes
12answers
3k views

One language to rule them all? (Them being platforms.) [closed]

I have been discussing a project with a client and they want to use a single language to deploy to as many platforms as possible. (I am not sure that it's such a good idea, because each platform ...
3
votes
2answers
72 views

Implementing incremental builds [closed]

I'm working on a toy language. Until now, multiple files have been compiled by merging the ASTs of each file and then running the semantic analysis and code generation phase on the merged AST. Now ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do build tools use a scripting language different than underlying programming language?

I've recently been using some build tools for a Nodejs project at work when I realized that most languages' main build tool/system use a different language than the underlying programming language ...
3
votes
7answers
687 views

Why can we not insert into files without the additional writes? (I neither mean append, nor over-write)

This occurs as a programming language independent problem to me. I have a file with the content aaabddd When I want to insert C behind b then my code needs to rewrite ddd to get aaabCddd Why ...
0
votes
2answers
127 views

Can there be value types in dynamic languages? [closed]

A value type is one whose instances are themselves saved in variables. A reference type is a type whose instances are saved somewhere and variables only hold the addresses of the instances. Some ...
16
votes
10answers
4k views

Why learn more programming languages? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: (Why) Should I learn a new programming language? I came across a line in this article which is, Learn one programming language every year Why do good programmers ...
26
votes
5answers
32k views

Programming Language vs Markup Language vs Scripting Language

Up until now I don't know the KEY differences between these three. When someone asks me about this, I only tell them that C# is a programming language, HTML and XML are Markup Languages, and ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Why not expose activation records as data types? [closed]

Scoped languages tend to store the local variables of a given scope or function together in a data structure known as an activation record. Stack frames are examples of instances of activation ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

What specifically does expressive power refer to?

Expressive Power is defined by Wikipedia as: .. the breadth of ideas that can be represented and communicated in that language. Does "ideas" refer to the things (operations, structures, ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Functional programming, compared to the process of a computer [duplicate]

In functional programming, it is considered bad practice (at least from my observations) to use state changes. Since computers operate in an imperative-language-like matter (performing one operation ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

How do references work in R?

I'm finding R confusing because it has such a different notion of reference than I am used to in languages like C, Java, Javascript... Ruby, Python, C++, well, pretty much any language I have ever ...
35
votes
9answers
13k views

Why do schools teach arrays over List? [closed]

Most of the assignments in my school for the initial programming classes required me to use arrays. I work full time now, and I never used an array for any project that I have worked on. Even in the ...
-1
votes
2answers
342 views

How are complex programs made? [duplicate]

I know a few languages, and can program in them. How do multiple languages blend together in a single program? For ex. https://github.com/facebook/watchman. This uses C, PHP, Python, Javascript, etc. ...
1
vote
4answers
137 views

When is an object passed to a function?

Trying to clearly state the semantics of a function call. In calling a function, are the arguments passed to the function the ones the calling code initially gives or the ones the function ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do arrays in .Net have Length but other collection types have Count? [closed]

In C# for example, arrays have Length property. But other collection types like lists, etc. have Count property. Is there a reason why these two are different? If so I would like to know.
37
votes
13answers
51k views

Why is C++ still preferred to build heavy GUI apps over the latest dynamic languages? [closed]

I see that most of the apps that include heavy GUI content are usually developed in C++. Most of the games/browsers are coded in C++. Can't we just develop better GUI apps with the latest dynamic ...
16
votes
1answer
583 views

In what programming language did the use of the percent sign (%) to mean modulo/remainder originate?

In what programming language did the use of the percent sign (%) to mean modulo/remainder originate? This previous post1 explains that the symbol % was likely chosen because it includes a slash, ...
-2
votes
1answer
228 views

Question about switch-case statement [closed]

What happens, and does code work properly if we write switch-case structure like this, why its not good to write code like this? I'm porting some firmware and have switch-case statement interrupted ...
2
votes
4answers
140 views

Clean Abstract Syntax Tree

I'm writing a toy compiler for fun. Basically, my problem is that I don't want to clutter the AST with stuff like debug information (symbol tokens, locations of tokens, etc) as well as data that the ...
0
votes
0answers
75 views

Why are scriptlets considered bad practice in JSPs when much more popular languages such as PHP seem not have any problem with them? [duplicate]

Why is doing <% if(blahblah) { //do something } %> in a JSP considered to be bad practice when noone who writes PHP seems to have any problem with doing essentially the ...
5
votes
2answers
777 views

A study shows that lines_written/time is language-independent for most programmers. Where can it be found? [closed]

A study shows that lines_written/time is language-independent and application-independent for most programmers. If this were true it would imply that the most terse a language is, the more productive ...
4
votes
2answers
478 views

Why do people confuse C-type strings and STL strings [closed]

The last week I saw at least three questions where people were confused about the differences between char * and std::string or made some related mistakes. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem ...
34
votes
4answers
28k views

Why were default and static methods added to interfaces in Java 8 when we already had abstract classes?

In Java 8, interfaces can contain implemented methods, static methods, and the so-called "default" methods (which the implementing classes do not need to override). In my (probably naive) view, there ...
3
votes
2answers
550 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Are string characters assigned a numerical value in context of how they are assigned in a programming language?

For context I am fairly new to programming after returning back to it after programming a number of years ago... I was reading Bjarne's intro programming with C++ and was wondering if alphabetical ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Incorporating functions into a Shunting-Yard algorithm implementation

tl;dr What would be a simple way of incorporating functions into a Shunting-Yard algorithm implementation? If only expressions like function(arg1, arg2, arg3) were allowed (where function is some ...
0
votes
2answers
172 views

Are private members useful anymore? [duplicate]

Watchpoints and data break points make it possible to watch the changes of a value in memory in many languages. Much of the justification I have seen for getters and setters and private variables ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Synchronizing webpage and local pdf

I would like to solve the following problem. On my website, I have a list of my publications. I also have my list of publications on a latex file of my cv. The issue is that I update these manually, ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Documenting a programming language: Reference Manual

We are looking at revamping documentation across our product line. Part of that includes reference manuals for a programming language used as part of the system. When writing a reference manual for a ...
69
votes
13answers
7k views

Do objects in OOP have to represent an entity?

Does an object have to represent an entity? By an entity I mean something like a Product, Motor, a ParkingLot etc, a physical, or a conceptual object, something that is well defined, with some core ...
0
votes
0answers
77 views

Why are datatypes different in terms of bit size based on complier, and OS used

I was reading a tutorial on C++ as I am new to programming, and I was wondering why the sizeof operator gives different output depending on what you're programming with.
73
votes
15answers
30k views

What makes C so popular in the age of OOP? [closed]

I code a lot in both C and C++, but did not expect C to be the second most popular language, slightly behind Java. TIOBE Programming Community Index I'm curious as to why, in this age of OOP, C is ...
1
vote
3answers
373 views

Is there any programming language(s) which has mathematical number types? [closed]

I may not have worded the title correctly. Is there any programming language(s) which deals with natural mathematical number types rather than the typical data types we see like Int32, Int64, Float, ...
-1
votes
1answer
113 views

Short Circuit Execution [closed]

Modify the car painting example car.color = favoriteColor ||"black"; so that the car is painted with your favorite color if you have one; otherwise it is painted with the the color of your garage: ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

Functional Languages that compile to Android's Dalvik VM? [closed]

I have a software problem that fits the functional approach to programming, but the target market will be on the Android OS. I ask because there are functional languages that compile to Java's VM, ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

Bad practice - switch case to set environment

In the last three years that I have worked as developer, I have seen a lot of examples where people use a switch statement to set the path (both in back-end and front-end) for a URL. Below is an ...
-1
votes
1answer
120 views

execute selection in console in C++ like python or R language [closed]

I am started to learn C++ using as IDLE Clion of jetbrain company. Normally using the IDLE of Python (i.e., Pycharm of Jetbrain) or R project i am able to execute selection in console line-by-line my ...
0
votes
2answers
154 views

Looking for a specific programming paradigm [closed]

I am searching for programming languages with a certain paradigm, or the name of the paradigm which works like follows: You start with writing the source code of a program or something more like a ...
37
votes
7answers
21k views

What is a “side effect?”

I haven’t clearly understood the concept of side effect. What is side effect in programming? Is it programming language dependent? Is there such a thing as external and internal side effects? ...
23
votes
6answers
5k views

Why these attempts to water down Scala with Xtend and Kotlin? [closed]

So now Eclipse has offered Xtend and JetBrains is offering Kotlin - both of which seem to be watered down versions of Scala. My question is why? I've played with Scala a bit and it's not that hard. ...