Syntax refers to the set of rules that define how to write a correctly structured program in a language. It explicitly does not deal with the program's meaning or interpretation.

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Haskell syntax for type definitions: why equality?

I am a bit confused by the choice of Haskell syntax for type definitions, like in data Foo = Bar Namely: does the equality sign here really mean an equality in some subtle sense, or is it just a ...
2
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0answers
133 views

Which languages are insensitive to whitespace in keywords?

Which languages are insensitive to whitespace in keywords? A language that is insensitive to whitespace in keywords would, if it had a goto statement, accept any of these statements: GOTO 10 GO TO ...
2
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0answers
38 views

Automated manipulate of expressions taking precedance into account

There are times when an expression becomes confusing because of implicit operator precedence. Take this Python expression: a, b, c, d = range(4) e = a + b // c << d >> a ** b or a + c * ...
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7answers
668 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. ...
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0answers
20 views

Syntax error in visual studio [migrated]

I started Udacity's Intro to Comp Sci course today, and generated this code at the end of the first lesson: page = '<a href="http://udacity.com">Hello world</a>' start_link = ...
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6answers
3k views

Why isn't testing a language a supported feature at the syntax level?

You can find an endless list of blogs, articles and websites promoting the benefits of unit testing your source code. It's almost guaranteed that the developers who programmed the compilers for Java, ...
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1answer
133 views

Syntax of passing lambda

Right now, I'm working on refactoring a program that calls its parts by polling to a more event-driven structure. I've created sched and task classes with the sced to become a base class of the ...
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0answers
24 views

What syntax should I use to execute functions in jQuery Terminal?

I want to add feature, to jQuery Terminal, that will allow to execute commands from the server. Right now it only have formatting syntax that look like this: [[<list of one letter styles> ; ...
0
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1answer
59 views

RFC syntax definition [closed]

I would like to bring our specifications to a better level of fine-grained definition of syntaxes, semantics and the like. I read my fair share of RFCs and just love the way they define things like ...
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1answer
155 views

Why some Javascript code needs to be written in different tags and not embedded within the same

When I was using the modernizr file, I came across this problem where in I need to source a file and call the script. <script src="js/modernizr-min.js"></script> <script> if ...
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4answers
742 views

Why do C# developers newline opening brackets? [closed]

I've spent most of the last several years working mainly with C# and SQL. Every programmer I've worked with over that time was in the habit of placing the opening brace of a function or control flow ...
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6answers
1k views

Would a “downcast if block” be a reasonable language feature?

Consider the following "if cast": class A { public void f1() { ... } } class B : A { public void f2() { ... } } A a = foo(); // might return A or B if ( a is B ) { // Inside block, ...
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3answers
464 views

Typical instantiation of new object - is there a way to avoid repetitious syntax?

When learning C# (and OO concepts more generally at the same time) something I found very distracting is exemplified by the following line: ExampleClass exampleObject = new ExampleClass(); It's the ...
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0answers
51 views

Using JavaScript to find the correct offset in bundled files

I am currently making multiple parsers using PEGjs and have implemented my own partial preprocessor which using a RegExp finds and replaces '#include' directives with the desired files, resulting in a ...
1
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1answer
105 views

About AST construction in LL1 non recursive parser

I have implemented a LL1 parser in a non recursive approach with a explicit stack. The following algorithm is from the Dragon Book: set zp to point to the first symbol of w; set X to the top stack ...
2
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4answers
647 views

Why are scientific programming languages so weird? [closed]

It seems to me that programming languages meant for use in science and engineering are consistently weird compared to general-purpose languages. Some examples off the top of my head: In Matlab, each ...
20
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9answers
2k views

What is the benefit of having the assignment operator return a value?

I'm developing a language which I intend to replace both Javascript and PHP. (I can't see any problem with this. It's not like either of these languages have a large install base.) One of the things ...
2
votes
3answers
421 views

Syntactic Sugar for old languages

I first learned about the existence of syntactic sugar languages, like CoffeeScript and SASS while working in Rails. This got me thinking... why do we not have well-known (if any at all) syntactic ...
11
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7answers
508 views

What is idiomatic use of arbitrary blocks in C?

A block is a list of statements to be executed. Examples of where blocks come up in C are after a while statement and in if statements while( boolean expression) statement OR block if (boolean ...
2
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6answers
823 views

Stacking keywords on top of each other - poor style?

I have always wondered about this, especially in C/Java style languages. For example, consider the first 3 lines of this C# code: lock (serviceLock) using (var client = new ServiceClient()) try { ...
3
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2answers
252 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 ...
0
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2answers
118 views

Languages like Tcl that have configurable syntax? [duplicate]

I'm looking for a language that will let me do what I could do with Clipper years ago, and which I can do with Tcl, namely add functionality in a way other than just adding functions. For example in ...
7
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3answers
217 views

Construct your solution logic in syntax or in a faster and more efficient mental model?

I am a newbie, studying programming and I came across this question today: How can I make sure that I'm actually learning how to program rather than simply learning the details of a language? A ...
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6answers
910 views

Optional semicolons

Most often, in a general-purpose imperative language - semicolons as statement-delimiters are either required, or completely disallowed (e.g. C and Python). However, some languages, like JavaScript, ...
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3answers
241 views

What language has integrated “list insertion” as part of code *syntax*?

Many programming languages permit natural manipulation of strings, and some languages permit the manipulations of lists too. More often then not (always?), these operations are done as procedure ...
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1answer
352 views

How to write a syntax checker [closed]

How is a syntax checker for a programming language written? I am guessing a grammar has to be written first. How to then proceed? Motivation I'm using a programming language (Apex for Salesforce) ...
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3answers
368 views

Any languages use the '=>' and '=<' operators? [closed]

I'm just curious if there are any programming languages that use the '=>' and '=<' operators for something. I wonder why these are not commonly used when their variant '<=' and '>=' are so ...
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1answer
4k views

Why there is no markdown for underline? [closed]

I am wondering why there is no markdown syntax for underline? I know that basic html tags can be embedded to achieve this but I am trying to understand why underline got omitted when bold and italics ...
0
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1answer
149 views

Truth condition testing with BOOL

BOOL myBool; myBool = YES; ... if (myBool) { doFoo(); } I have read that because there are instances where the above does not actually call the doFoo() function, it is best to instead always test ...
3
votes
5answers
637 views

Does relying on intellisense and documentation a lot while coding makes you a bad programmer? [duplicate]

Is a programmer required to learn and memorize all syntax, or is it ok to keep handy some documentation? Would it affect the way that managers look at coders? What are the downside of depending on ...
7
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4answers
710 views

What makes Common Lisp “big”?

I've been learning both Common Lisp and Racket, and one thing that I consistently hear is that Racket is a much "smaller" language than Common Lisp. I was wondering what this really meant. As far as I ...
14
votes
1answer
607 views

Dollar Sign Blues: Javascript and PHP

I grew up programming C++ and Java where everything was safe and beautiful. Compilers made sure to keep me in check if I ever strayed. Of course, everyone did a little Perl in college, but I didn't ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

How do I distinguish between things belonging to the standard library, specific gems, and those that are user-generated in Ruby?

I'm a beginning programmer, that for various reasons is using an existing Ruby codebase to learn to program. My goal is to be able to understand and eventually extend this codebase. However, I find it ...
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2answers
102 views

What Does “The Program Must Process Each Character Before Reading the Next One” Mean?

From the book Think Like a Programmer (emphasis mine) The Luhn formula is a widely used system for validating identification numbers. Using the original number, double the value of every other ...
2
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2answers
541 views

foreach over multiple lists at once

Are there any languages that support foreach over multiple lists at once? Something like this: foreach (string a in names, string b in places, string c in colors) { // do stuff with a, b, c ...
2
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1answer
193 views

Objective C - nested messages … confusion about

Wonder if anyone could shed some light on this messaging construct: The documentation says that messages appear btwn brackets [] and that the msg target/object is on the left, whilst the msg itself ...
2
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2answers
170 views

Helper Methods Placement

Here's a question that's always bugged me. I'm going to use java as an example because I've almost never run into a problem in java where I didn't need to use helper methods in its class structure. ...
45
votes
7answers
4k views

Why are semicolons and commas interchanged in for loops?

In many languages (a wide list, from C to JavaScript): commas , separate arguments (e.g. func(a, b, c)), while semicolons ; separate sequential instructions (e.g. instruction1; instruction2; ...
36
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do bitwise operators have lower priority than comparisons?

Could someone explain the rationale, why in a bunch of most popular languages (see note below) comparison operators (==, !=, <, >, <=, >=) have higher priority than bitwise operators (&, |, ...
32
votes
11answers
3k views

What is the difference between “Syntax” and “Syntactic Sugar”

Background The Wikipedia page on Syntactic Sugar states: In computer science, syntactic sugar is syntax within a programming language that is designed to make things easier to read or to express. ...
3
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2answers
159 views

When to (enforce) linting in a software project

I'm heading a new team of developers working on a software project that makes use of continuous integration (circleci) w/ a pretty fleshed out suite of busterjs unit/integration/acceptance tests. Our ...
67
votes
3answers
22k views

Why do programming languages, especially C, use curly braces and not square ones?

The definition of "C-Style language" can practically be simplified down to "uses curly braces ({})." Why do we use that particular character (and why not something more reasonable, like [], which ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

Checking “instanceof” rather than value using a switch statement

Is there some syntax (other than a series of if statements) that allows for the use of a switch statement in Java to check if an object is an instanceof a class? I.e., something like this: switch ...
2
votes
1answer
222 views

Are there studies about foo/bar/baz and how they inhibit or facilitate comprehension?

Preface foo,bar,baz are instantly recognizable signifiers of example or pseudo code. Their popularity seems to be a strong indication that the programming community accepts them as a good way to ...
22
votes
4answers
10k views

Why store a function inside a python dictionary?

I'm a python beginner, and I just learned a technique involving dictionaries and functions. The syntax is easy and it seems like a trivial thing, but my python senses are tingling. Something tells me ...
2
votes
1answer
271 views

How are “Json.org”-like specs graphs called and how can I generate them?

In http://www.json.org Douglas Crockford shows the specs of the JSON format in two interesting ways: In the right side column he lists a text spec that looks like a YACC or LEX listing. In the main ...
9
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3answers
934 views

Why can't we write nested shorthand functions in Clojure?

I tried to evaluate a Clojure expression with nested shorthand functions today, and it wouldn't let me. The expression was: (#(+ % (#(+ % (* % %)) %)) 5) ; sorry for the eye bleed The output was: ...
2
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2answers
123 views

How to programmatically construct textual query

Here is a query language, more specifically, it's JQL, you can use it in Jira, to search for issues, it's something like SQL, but quite simpler. My case is that, I need to construct such queries ...
3
votes
5answers
940 views

Why do node packages put a comma on a newline?

I'm learning node.js and am trying out Express. My first app had this code: var express = require('express') , routes = require('./routes') , user = require('./routes/user') , http = ...
1
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3answers
779 views

Syntax Memorization [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Programmers forgetting syntax Do programmers need a good memory? I'm a new web developer. I began learning HTML/CSS around June of this year. I picked them up ...