Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Aren't Computer Programming Languages Designed Better?

Why Aren't Computer Programming Languages Designed Better? | Co.Design

I always find articles like this interesting, in large part because fairly often the comments are entertaining.

Code readability can be a real issue but often it's because of the coder, not the language. Many years ago I worked on a project in Clipper, a compiled language derived from dBase's programming language. If done properly it made for very readable code that had some syntactic resemblances to Basic. When I came in they'd tried hiring an accountant and teaching her programming since it was an AR module being written. After trying for several days to make sense of what she'd done I went up to the supervisor and showed him the code and told him that it would just be faster to start over than try to make sense of the hash she'd made. He approved it. I honestly hadn't realized you could make Clipper that unreadable.

The idea of Quorum sounds interesting but it is an interesting question as to how some of the more complex structures that programmers have to create to solve some problems could be translated into something resembling English.