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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22
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Explaining new or uncommon syntax in comments [duplicate]

As per the title, should I be explaining syntax that I use in my code when I have a reasonable expectation that a developer looking at my code in the future will not be familiar with it? Short caveats ...
88
votes
18answers
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Are `break` and `continue` bad programming practices?

My boss keeps mentioning nonchalantly that bad programmers use break and continue in loops. I use them all the time because they make sense; let me show you the inspiration: function verify(object) ...
21
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2answers
2k views

Is there a performance benefit to using the method reference syntax instead of lambda syntax in Java 8?

Do method references skip the overhead of the lambda wrapper? Might they in the future? According to the Java Tutorial on Method References: Sometimes... a lambda expression does nothing but ...
0
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2answers
149 views

Nested functions; allow or not? [closed]

Having programmed a whole lot in python, using nested functions is a good way to not clutter the namespace with small helper functions that are only used once. Now I'm programming in go, and upon ...
-6
votes
3answers
173 views

Why different languages have different syntax? [duplicate]

Different programming language always/most of the time use different syntax. For example take PHP, Java and Python. In Php & Java semicolons are compulsory at the end of the line, yet Python ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

How to create a 2D array at runtime in Ada? [closed]

In Ada programming, What is a best practice way to create a 2D array of a size that is specified by the user? I'm teaching myself Ada for work (after many years of C programming), and I'm having ...
24
votes
9answers
4k views

'<' versus '!=' as condition in a 'for' loop?

Say you have the following forloop*: for (int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) { // ... } which it could commonly also be written as: for (int i = 0; i != 10; ++i) { // ... } The end results are ...
46
votes
8answers
24k views

A practical use of “yield” keyword in C#

After almost 4 years of experience, I haven't seen a code where yield keyword is used. Can somebody show me a practical usage (along explanation) of this keyword, and if so, aren't there other ways ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Why does C use the asterisk for pointers?

I'm just now learning about C. I find it odd that the creators chose the asterisk (*) as the symbol for pointers rather than a symbol that actually looks like a pointer (->). Considering how ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does C++ not have a “pure” keyword for virtual functions?

I have always wondered why we code virtual void MyFunction() = 0; and not pure virtual void MyFunction(); Is there a reference for the basis of this decision?
38
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18answers
6k views

Does syntax really matter in a programming language?

One of my professors says "the syntax is the UI of a programming language", languages like Ruby have great readability and it's growing, but we see a lot of programmers productive with C\C++, so as ...
3
votes
3answers
367 views

In Objective C, what English words can I conceptually associate to the symbols?

I'm learning Objective C (from a C# background) and am having difficulty understanding the unusual method signatures and am looking for a shortcut to make the learning curve less steep. When reading ...
4
votes
8answers
565 views

Confusion regarding def function within Python

I've been learning Python for about 2 months now (Started with Learn Python The Hard Way, now reading Dive Into Python), and within both books, I still seem to be confused over this one bit of code. ...
7
votes
3answers
275 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
28k 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
166 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

When does it make sense to compile my own language to C code first?

When designing an own programming language, when does it make sense to write a converter that takes the source code and converts it to C or C++ code so that I can use an existing compiler like gcc to ...
3
votes
2answers
305 views

Why was the AT&T assembly syntax designed this way?

The AT&T assembly syntax, often called the GAS syntax, keeps surprising me. For example, its parameter order: mov $100,%eax /* Destination after source */ This just seems so counter-intuitive! ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

Make functions that imply other functions

I'm developing a game that often has repetitious code that I can't simplify. Example of what I do normally: Square object; GL11.glPushMatrix(); // Pushes a matrix stack down by one. This allows us ...
4
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
22
votes
12answers
3k views

Is there a language offering LISP-like macros with a more complex syntax?

LISP's macros are extremely powerful constructs, and the inability to introspect and modify the program itself beyond the method signature level has always struck me as a limitation. Yet I favour ...
4
votes
0answers
248 views

How do you pronounce 'char' keyword? [closed]

So, with the possibility of this question being closed due to being non-productive as in the case of other pronunciation questions, I take the risk and ask it just because i have heard it said both ...
4
votes
2answers
317 views

Needs (in principle) C++ parenthesis around if statement condition?

In current C++ when body of if statements contain only one command then: Parenthesis around if condition are mandatory but block are optional. So, both examples are OK: if ( condition ) { return 0; ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Why do objects created with no assignment not generate a syntax error in Python?

While working on a Python project, I realized that during my editing I had left a string floating around in the middle of my code and it didn't generate an error. For example, these few lines execute ...
6
votes
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, ...
0
votes
2answers
493 views

Does any other language use the uniform initialization syntax found in c++? [closed]

Are there any other languages that use the new C++11 uniform initialization syntax thoroughly throughout the entire language, or is this entirely a C++ idiom at this point? I tried googling and ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

What exactly is this Python statement doing?

I'm trying to port a very basic dual contouring algorithm written in Python (here) to C++. I'm not a Python programmer so some of the language syntax is a bit foreign to me. Specifically, this block ...
0
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2answers
152 views

BNF parsing rule for left associativity

Can someone please assist me with the following question. Write a BNF rule to parse into C -> E C -> E && E C -> E && E && E so that C generates as many E ...
35
votes
12answers
5k views

Why do most programming languages have special keyword or syntax for declaring functions? [closed]

Most programming languages (both dynamically and statically typed languages) have special keyword and/or syntax that looks much different than declaring variables for declaring functions. I see ...
4
votes
3answers
529 views

Intentionally incorrect use of language features, specifically “ref” in C#, as a hint to colleagues

I recently came across a piece of code something like this (roughly C#): public bool ValidateStuff(ref ArrayList listOfErrors, Stuff thingsToValidate) { if (!thingsToValidate.isValid() ) { ...
0
votes
4answers
104 views

Developing configuration syntax - best practise/rules/methods?

I am currently developing a small application, which checks if provided data meets certain requirements. The requirements are actually a long list, and might be changing, so I defined a syntax which ...
0
votes
2answers
391 views

Writing a superset of a programming language as a transcompiler

My idea is to write a superset of C# (but question is not language-specific), so that it source-to-source compiles (transcompiles) to C# itself (fall-through switch clauses, default method parameters ...
3
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
653 views

Haskell syntax for type definitions: why the equality sign?

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 ...
6
votes
7answers
1k 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. ...
31
votes
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, ...
12
votes
8answers
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Why do most programming languages not nest block comments?

A few do, but not any of the popular ones as far as I know. Is there something bad about nesting comments? I plan to have block comments nest in the (small) language I'm working on, but I would like ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

I feel something uncomfortable with Haskell record syntax

Most of Haskell syntax has beauty of purity. But the record syntax looks ugly. It's uncomfortable. It feels some kind of mixture with C. It requires comma and braces. Haskell has tab,line based ...
0
votes
1answer
277 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
44 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> ; ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
188 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 ...
99
votes
15answers
16k views

Why did memory-managed languages like Java, Javascript, and C# retain the `new` keyword?

The new keyword in languages like Java, Javascript, and C# creates a new instance of a class. This syntax seems to have been inherited from C++, where new is used specifically to allocate a new ...
4
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
282 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 ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Are there any compilers that attempt to fix syntax errors on their own? [closed]

I heard a while back that there used to be a compiler that attempted to fix syntax errors by analyzing context and inferring what was intended. Does such a compiler really exist? Obviously it has ...
24
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9answers
4k 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 ...
64
votes
12answers
49k views

What's the difference between syntax and semantics?

I've always thought that referring to the syntax of a language was the same as referring to the semantics of a language. But I've been informed that apparently that's not the case. What's the ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

How should I pronounce the :: and -> in PHP? [closed]

When I read these lines aloud to someone: $controller->process(); UserManager::getInstance(); How should the -> and :: be pronounced? Reading the characters themselves in cumbersome and I ...