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C Syntax

Why is C syntax so uneasy on the eye?

In its day, was it _really_ designed by snobby programmers to scare away
potential "n00bs"? If so, and after 50+ years of programming research,
why are programming languages still being designed with C's syntax?

These questions drive me insane. Every waking minute...
Nov 14 '05
177 7137

"Dr Chaos" <mb************ ****@NOSPAMyaho o.com> wrote in message
Profound anti-intellectualism among practitioners, and cargo-cult
imitation. This spurious idea being that "gee, C was popular; so
why don't we make our language with Cish syntax so we might be
popular too."

Or maybe "C is popular so let's use a syntax that most programmers are
already familiar with".
Just as sensible as using English language keywords and function names,
because most programmers already know at least some English.
Nov 14 '05 #91
On Fri, 28 May 2004 11:13:43 +0400, Dmitry Zamotkin wrote:
he-he.
C is not functional too.
Try rand() function.


rand() works right. You are broken.

--
yvoregnevna gjragl-guerr gjb-gubhfnaq guerr ng lnubb qbg pbz
To email me, rot13 and convert spelled-out numbers to numeric form.
"Makes hackers smile" makes hackers smile.

Nov 14 '05 #92
Da*****@cern.ch (Dan Pop) wrote in message news:<c9******* ***@sunnews.cer n.ch>...
In <bu************ *************** *****@4ax.com> Alan Balmer <al******@att.n et> writes: None of the programming languages assigning semantics to indentation
has ever become mainstream. There must be a reason...


Not true. You're living in the present. In the past, when punch card
input was the norm, indentation had a meaning. In particular, FORTRAN
IV required input to begin in column 7 (or was it 8?), with a '*' in
column 6(7) as continuation...

DISCLAIMER: It's been nigh onto 25 years since I've done FORTRAN IV.
My info on the specific columns may be incorrect.
Nov 14 '05 #93
[Note: I was unable to post a message to comp.lang.c (as specified in
the "Followup-To" header in your message) unless I also posted to
microsoft.publi c.dotnet.langua ges.csharp. I'm not certain why. In any
case, I've restored that "Followup-To" header.]

Dr Chaos wrote:

<snipped some interesting stuff>
These questions drive me insane. Every waking minute...


The answers are easy. But depressing.


I'm glad you understand. :-)
Nov 14 '05 #94
"August Derleth" <se*@sig.now> wrote in message
news:pa******** *************** *****@sig.now.. .
he-he.
C is not functional too.
Try rand() function.


rand() works right. You are broken.


Actually, rand() has some side-effects - changing the seeds of pseudo-random
generator.
So, such function is not pure-fuctional-programming-language-function.


Nov 14 '05 #95
"August Derleth" <se*@sig.now> wrote in message
news:pa******** *************** *****@sig.now.. .
he-he.
C is not functional too.
Try rand() function.


rand() works right. You are broken.


Actually, rand() has some side-effects - changing the seeds of pseudo-random
generator.
So, such function is not pure-fuctional-programming-language-function.


Nov 14 '05 #96
"Viktor Lofgren" <zw*@eudial.n os--pam.mine.nu> wrote in message
news:tk******** ********@newsb. telia.net...

Here's why: It works and is perfectly balanced between levels. It is not
gibberish like LISP or Assembly (no offense, but it is kinda hard to see what (+ 2 (* 8 (expt 25 (/ 5 2)))) does).


To start understand such stuff you need to write code in LISP for a few
days, not more. After that it may become even _simpler_ to understand,
because it's not required to memorize order of precedence.


Nov 14 '05 #97
Malcolm <ma*****@55bank .freeserve.co.u k> wrote:

"Dr Chaos" <mb************ ****@NOSPAMyaho o.com> wrote in message
Profound anti-intellectualism among practitioners, and cargo-cult
imitation. This spurious idea being that "gee, C was popular; so
why don't we make our language with Cish syntax so we might be
popular too."
Or maybe "C is popular so let's use a syntax that most programmers are
already familiar with".


Actually I think that's can be a worse idea---suggesting something
that 'almost works' the same, but in fact is subtly different is quite
dangerous.

Like, in the USA you might want to give your buddy who's had too much
to drink "a ride" home, but if you try offer that to your mates in
Sydney (as opposed to a "lift") you're likely to get socked. At least
in most straight bars.
Just as sensible as using English language keywords and function names,
because most programmers already know at least some English.


It is not as sensible, especially when other forms are tested to be
better.

I believe natural language is an different situation because human
brains have specific circuits for it, and not specifically programming
languages.

To some degree (but not completely) good syntaxes are those which can
use the low-level processing of brains and natural langauges to suggest
the correct semantics "without thinking", or at least the conscious
perception thereof.

For instance, Lisp has practically no syntax, but that doesn't make
it easy---it offloads all understanding to the general conscious processing
of the cortex. And linguistic testing has shown that humans do not
have that deep a mental stack.

So despite the fact that from a purely theoretical perspective, Lisp
programs should be very easy to understand, they aren't, and
programming languages with more redundant and full syntaxes seem to be
generally preferred. Lisp has advantages that can outweigh
its disadvantages, but non-ergonomic syntax is a disadvantage.
(Smalltalk may share some of this as well). Lisp is a bad syntax
but it can be worth it. I don't think C-derived syntaxes are.

Besides, how many former Visual Basic programmers were really long-time
"regular" BASIC programmers? Not that large a fraction.
Nov 14 '05 #98
Arthur J. O'Dwyer <aj*@nospam.and rew.cmu.edu> wrote:

Not that I'm disagreeing, but *is* there any ambiguity avoided
by requiring parens around the condition in a 'do...while' loop?
I don't know about C, but it may have been a holdover from Fortran,
where it does matter:

! fortran
if (condition = something) then

because
if condition = something

can be also

ifcondition = something

an assignment.

In C I don't see the issue, I admit.
E.g., what problem, if any (besides lack of symmetry), is introduced
by the "reform"

do stmt; while expr;
do { block } while expr;

replacing

do stmt; while (expr);
do { block } while (expr);

(Also, there's no ambiguity avoided by the requirement of a semicolon
following the label of a 'goto'. Just defusing potential "do you
know you're being utterly ridiculous" responses. ;)

-Arthur

Nov 14 '05 #99
On 29 May 2004 19:35:09 -0700, re********@yaho o.com (red floyd) wrote:
Da*****@cern.c h (Dan Pop) wrote in message news:<c9******* ***@sunnews.cer n.ch>...
In <bu************ *************** *****@4ax.com> Alan Balmer <al******@att.n et> writes:

None of the programming languages assigning semantics to indentation
has ever become mainstream. There must be a reason...


Not true. You're living in the present. In the past, when punch card
input was the norm, indentation had a meaning. In particular, FORTRAN
IV required input to begin in column 7 (or was it 8?), with a '*' in
column 6(7) as continuation...

DISCLAIMER: It's been nigh onto 25 years since I've done FORTRAN IV.
My info on the specific columns may be incorrect.


Column 6 was for the continuation. Your code had to fit in columns
7 through 72. 73 through 80 was for a card sequence number, and
ignored by the compiler, IIRC.

Cobol also (originally) used column-positional syntax, Area A,
Area B, and so on.

Columns 1 through 6 (or 7) was for sequence numbers, followed by
Area A for paragraph names, and Area B for code, but its been a long
time.

At any rate, Dan is incorrect.

Oz
--
A: Because it fouls the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
Nov 14 '05 #100

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