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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
On Thu, 27 May 2004 11:09:58 +0200, Grumble <a@b.c> wrote:
Lew Pitcher wrote:
I resemble that remark! :-)


You resemble[1] that remark? Are you intangible?

Do you also resent[2] that remark?

[1] to be like or similar to
[2] to feel or express annoyance or ill will at


It's a joke. Obviously not a cross-cultural one.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************* ***********@att .net
Nov 14 '05 #41

On Thu, 27 May 2004, Alan Balmer wrote:

As you study and understand the language, you'll find that it's all
nicely consistent, and that there are good reasons for most of the
features which seem odd to you. One of the characteristics of C is
terseness, and extra parens aren't required by the language for no
reason.


Not that I'm disagreeing, but *is* there any ambiguity avoided
by requiring parens around the condition in a 'do...while' loop?
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 #42
> Delphi is boring. IMO syntax of C is much more funny.

Delphi is Pascal with maybe a few bells and whistles.
Therefore, it's based on an older language than C, maybe that's why
it's a bit boring.

Well, rephrasing Paul Graham, I should say "Don't wait until C will become
as
clear as Python, use Python instead".


If you really think Python has clearer syntax than C, well, think twice.
One terrible fact is this indentation thing in Python to delimit code
blocks. One tab or space is left behind, and the whole thing is screwed.
To me, it's an unacceptable syntax issue.
Nov 14 '05 #43
Lew Pitcher wrote:
Grumble wrote:
Lew Pitcher wrote:
I resemble that remark! :-)


You resemble[1] that remark? Are you intangible?


Old joke, obviously forgotten.


Kids :-)

--
Chuck F (cb********@yah oo.com) (cb********@wor ldnet.att.net)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
<http://cbfalconer.home .att.net> USE worldnet address!
Nov 14 '05 #44
In <bu************ *************** *****@4ax.com> Alan Balmer <al******@att.n et> writes:
On Thu, 27 May 2004 03:40:42 +0100, "Kieran Simkin"
<ki****@digita l-crocus.com> wrote:
Another nicety about Python is the fact that whitespace is used for
defining code blocks.


What you call a nicety <sic>, I call a liability.


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

Dan
--
Dan Pop
DESY Zeuthen, RZ group
Email: Da*****@ifh.de
Nov 14 '05 #45
"Michael Voss" <mi**********@l vrREMOVE.deCAPS > wrote:

Irrwahn Grausewitz wrote:
[...snip...]
Smalltalk is a functional language.


How do you define "functional language" ?


I don't - others already did. If you're interested in this subject
I suggest to Go Ogle for the comp.lang.funct ional FAQ - it contains
a nice explanation of functional vs. procedural programming paradigms.

Ob the portion you snipped: While both C++ and Smalltalk are OO
languages, the former is a mere procedural, the latter a mere
functional language.

Regards
--
Irrwahn Grausewitz (ir*******@free net.de)
welcome to clc: http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt
clc faq-list : http://www.faqs.org/faqs/C-faq/faq/
clc OT guide : http://benpfaff.org/writings/clc/off-topic.html
Nov 14 '05 #46
In <Pi************ *************** *******@unix45. andrew.cmu.edu> "Arthur J. O'Dwyer" <aj*@nospam.and rew.cmu.edu> writes:

Not that I'm disagreeing, but *is* there any ambiguity avoided
by requiring parens around the condition in a 'do...while' loop?
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);


To me, symmetry in the language syntax is an overriding concern. The
last thing I'd want to have to remember is when "while" requires a
parenthesised controlling expression.

Dan
--
Dan Pop
DESY Zeuthen, RZ group
Email: Da*****@ifh.de
Nov 14 '05 #47
On Thu, 27 May 2004 11:55:45 -0400 (EDT), "Arthur J. O'Dwyer"
<aj*@nospam.and rew.cmu.edu> wrote:

On Thu, 27 May 2004, Alan Balmer wrote:

As you study and understand the language, you'll find that it's all
nicely consistent, and that there are good reasons for most of the
features which seem odd to you. One of the characteristics of C is
terseness, and extra parens aren't required by the language for no
reason.


Not that I'm disagreeing, but *is* there any ambiguity avoided
by requiring parens around the condition in a 'do...while' loop?
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. ;)

Symmetry and the avoidance of special cases. Prevents ambiguity in my
head, if nowhere else :-)

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************* ***********@att .net
Nov 14 '05 #48
Alan Balmer wrote:
On Thu, 27 May 2004 04:36:24 +0100, C# Learner <cs****@learner .here>
wrote:
[...]
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you don't have a
deep enough understanding of the C language, and indeed of programming
languages in general, to appreciate the reasons for the syntax
features you're commenting on.
I believe that I appreciate the reasons for these features. What I'm
saying is that I think that there are better (in terms of allowing the
user of the language to write readable code) alternatives that could
have been implemented instead.
Take your original example of
eliminating the deli meters around the conditional in an if statement.
Think about what this would mean for compound conditions. Combine that
with the Python-style blocking and then think about an if statement
which tests for several conditions, requiring more than one line to
write.
a) Valid C syntax:

if (foo &&
bar) {
foobar();
}

b) Similar code to the above but using my suggested syntax changes:

if foo &&
bar:
foobar();

Why wouldn't (b) be feasible here?

Everything from 'if' to ':' is considered the condition. After the
newline after ':', whitespace is required to form a code block.
As you study and understand the language, you'll find that it's all
nicely consistent, and that there are good reasons for most of the
features which seem odd to you.
The only way in which they seem odd to me is that they make code much
less readable than it could be, in my opinion.

Okay, if you don't agree with the 'if'..':' idea, then how about
changing the parentheses required for test conditions for a different
pair of characters? An ideal pair would be a pair that isn't used
elsewhere in the language, for readability's sake.
One of the characteristics of C is
terseness, and extra parens aren't required by the language for no
reason.
My point is that a different construct could be substituted in each case.
Also, think about the fact that language inventors and implementers
are, by and large, a pretty bright bunch. In general, they probably
have more and wider experience in the field than you do, and some of
them might even be as smart ;-)
So those who invented C's syntax are necessarily brighter than those who
invented, say, Python's syntax?
Those features which have passed
through to modern languages have done so for a reason.


I honestly wonder what that reason is.

Regards
Nov 14 '05 #49
Mark McIntyre wrote:
On Thu, 27 May 2004 00:56:59 +0100, in comp.lang.c , C# Learner
<cs****@learner .here> wrote:

One of the biggest flaws in C syntax, in my opinion, is the required
parentheses for test conditions.


if (FooBar(Parse(P rocess(GetInput ())))
DoSomething();

(he prefers)

if FooBar(Parse(Pr ocess(GetInput( ))):
DoSomething();


Okay, I'll bite. Why on earth do you consider this in any way an
improvement? What difference does it make to anything?


I believe that it'd improve code readability. Have you noticed how, in
langauges which use such syntax, people often write something like:

if ( FooBar(Parse(Pr ocess(GetInput( ))) )

i.e. they use spaces because of the fact that parentheses are used both
in test conditions and function calls. As far as I see, when doing so,
they're just attempting to work around a syntactical design flaw of the
language.
Nov 14 '05 #50

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