Euphoria's identity/philosophy -- Where is the focus?

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slacker said...

Rob's vision was "Just Say no to complicated programming languages", but in my view, it seems that the devs lost sight of that imperative.

Yep, the "not being complicated" aspect was probably what the other thread's OP had in mind when he was asking about Eu's minimalism.

MatthewMacGregor said...

I believe that to be effective and successful, most languages need to figure out their identity.

To me, what's most valuable about Euphoria is that it's elegant, readable, easy. In this regard, the recent versions have remained faithful to these principles. However, as for the language's "identity" (or, if you will, "philosophy") there is certainly scope for discussion, especially considering that it is not something set in stone, or even explicitly defined for that matter. But it's worth exploring it, hence this thread. From what I understand minimalism as such is no more a guiding principle (perhaps it never was), but the anti-bloat guidelines remain in place, as well as the readability requirements. That, along with elegance, is what I like best about Euphoria. Yet there a few syntax changes (proposed by various users in the past, but alas, mostly ignored - ahem, developers please take notice) that would be much welcome, in order to improve things in the way of readability and *simplification* (to mention but one: the comparison of sequences with the = operator). The principle of least surprise is an important guideline to keep in view, and I believe it should be central to Euphoria's philosophy: the programmer should always get what he expects, or at least his "surprise" should be minimized. Consequently, the language syntax and semantics should be made as intuitive as possible. Again, getting an error message when you are trying to compare sequences with = is not very nice... For the sake of user friendliness it would be worth making the effort to change the syntax to accommodate the expectations of the newbie programmers and thus eliminating unnecessary glitches.

MatthewMacGregor said...

Development should be focused on making sure it continues to solve the problems it's uniquely positioned to solve well.

I think a comparison with Python might be in order here, because I believe that Python is probably the closest contender to what we may call Euphoria's "area of excellence" (i.e. what grants it a unique positioning), especially in terms of readability, elegance, intuitiveness, etc. Of course Python is much more developed than Euphoria, but for this very reason it has become bloated and very slow. So Euphoria is waaaaay better in this regard. Nonetheless, we must recognize that in terms of friendliness, ease of use and intuitiveness Python really shines (I would place it on a par with Euphoria). The point I am trying to make, taking hint from Matthew's remark, is that the best thing to do is to concentrate on Euphoria's best strengths, which for me are simplicity, readability, intuitiveness, etc. They are undisputably Euphoria's forte. In other words, the primary focus should not be on adding new features (we don't need another Python...), but on improving the Euphoria's programming experience through syntactic sugar and the like. I am insisting on this because I believe that this is truly Euphoria's area of excellence today, so it should be made a priority. Of course, other people may have different views as to what constitutes Euphoria's "core identity" or as to what its primary strengths are, and they are welcome to express them.

Regards to all Euphorians,


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