OT: Punctuation-starved Programming Languages
spc at conman.org
Wed Jun 21 12:50:02 CDT 2006
It was thus said that the Great Don Y once stated:
> Yeah, this is OT -- *except* in my hope that perhaps some
> *vintage* language might fit the bill...
> So, the question: are (were) there any useful languages
> designed that did not rely heavily on punctuation in their
> syntax? It almost seems an inconsistency -- older languages
> tended to be skimpy in their syntax (e.g., short identifiers,
> global scope, etc.) which would suggest that punctuation
> exploits would be MORE valuable to them.
I wouldn't say that short identifiers, global scope, etc. are restrictions
on syntax per se, but as a limitation due to the capacities of the computers
at the time (like the 6 character limit of identifiers in C ). But that
aside, I can only think of a few that did not rely upon punctuation that
much. COBOL is one (although I don't know it well enough to say). Pilot
maybe. BASIC is another one that can get by with minimal punctuation
(parenthesis and brackets notwithstanding). And it would be fairly trivial
to remove punctuation from Forth with the proper word definitions.
Then there's always assembly ...
-spc (Do you have some special interest in this?)
 ANSI C89 limited external identifiers to the first six characters
due to limitations on certain system linkers. An ANSI C89 compiler
could allow more characters, but it had to support at least six.
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