Thanks from biologist choosing new programming language

Gordon D. Pusch gdpusch at NO.xnet.SPAM.com
Mon Feb 10 06:15:59 EST 2003

ladasky at my-deja.com (John Ladasky) writes:

> Perl looks useful.  But its readability appears to be subject to the
> whims of the programmer, just like in C.  

It is possible to write unreadable code in =ANY= language. Readability is a
function of the programmer's discipline to force themself to write readable
code, not the language the code is written in.

> Shortcuts abound.  You can write a single line of code that does
> everything but the laundry.  Good luck trying to figure out what
> it means when you go back to read it a month later!

"Can" does not imply _MUST_. The perl mantra is, ``There's More Than One
Way To Do It'' (TMTOWTDI, pronounce ``Tum-tow-tiddi''). Just because you
_can_ write multifunctional code that looks like line noise doesn't mean 
you =HAVE= to write it that way. Well-structure perl code that does not
exploit tricky obscure side-effects to save keystrokes can be every bit
as readable as PASCAL.

> Python looks very easy.  Almost too easy.  Is it underpowered?  I'm
> still trying to find out.  

The thing about Python that scares the $#!+ out of me is its dependence on
fixed-format files for flow control. Since Python block structure, looping, 
and branching is determined by block indentation, one can COMPLETELY destroy 
the logical structure of one's code by sucking it into the wrong text-editor, 
or accidentally hitting the paragraph-flow command. AFAIC, that is a =BUG=,
not a feature !!!  I strongly prefer to have my block structure explicitly
shown by braces or BEGIN/END constructs, instead of implicitly determined 
by how many tab-stops I've indented. (Was't FORTRAN enough to prove that
depending on fixed-format file structure was an accident waiting to happen ???)

-- Gordon D. Pusch   

perl -e '$_ = "gdpusch\@NO.xnet.SPAM.com\n"; s/NO\.//; s/SPAM\.//; print;'

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