LtU Forum

Slashdot: "Favourite Programming Language Features?"

There's a discussion about favoured programming language features on Slashdot.

Unification, parametric polymorphism etc. are mentioned.

Universal Business Language XML

From the OASIS group, responsible for OpenOffice formats among other things, comes a new schema for business processes. The gem here is the new standard for addresses, something long overdue in the XML world.

Ever since my early data modelling experience, with a pre-release version of IMS/DB, deciding how best to deal with addresses has been a major issue. So I looked at this area in particular and it does seem to work well and give the flexibility needed (this is partly due to the greater flexibility of XML over IMS) and I can easily see this becoming the standard.

Holding onto JavaScript's past

I know I have made mention of this before, and I would like to thank many for making comments, espicially Dan Shappir. But I would like to throw an idea out to those of you, the many, that are smarter at this than I am. =)

The paper I have read concerning JavaScript 2.0 doesn't hold a lot of water with me; not necessarily because of the technical modifications being made, but because the future ECMA standard is leaning towards what is 'en-vogue' instead of sticking to what makes JS distinct. I do feel that JavaScript needs some changes, and I would like to ask the opinions of everyone as to what changes they see that need to happen, as well as listen to one of my own.

One change I would like to see JavaScript is the addition of being able to declare identifier's to be of a certain object type. I was always a fan of dynamic typing merely because I have always been bad at planning my code, so I always felt that static typing got in my way, and caused many edits in my code. I of course blamed this on the language, instead of what the real problem was... namely me, and my poor skills.

Although I see the benefits of typing, mainly for type checking. I do not think it is a panacea, and also think that JS's 'var' keyword provides a suitable syntax for declaring dynamic identifiers. Not to mention, 'var' can be implicit when an identifier is not declared, but instead immediately assigned.

This is just a thought I had run through my head, and over-all I think that it is a good idea. I would like to hear other's opinions concerning the problems with JS as well as my suggestion for a change in the semantics of JS.

Best Regards,


The Role of the Study of Programming Languages

The Role of the Study of Programming Languages in the Education of a Programmer
Daniel P. Friedman

Surely we've mentioned this before, maybe not?

Visual Studio Express

After making available for free the Visual C++ Toolkit which includes the complete optimizing C++ compiler from Visual C++ Professional, now MS is offering free versions of its Visual Studio tools, called Visual Studio Express. The beta versions are available for download, but the FAQ says they haven't decided yet about pricing for the final versions.

International Components for Unicode 3.0 Released

Language designers should find this good news encouraging. ICU is very capable and too many languages still lack Unicode support. There is no good reason with ICU around. ICU has a loose X open source license which is good for GPL or proprietary work.

ICU comes in three flavors, C, Java, and Java Native Interface. If you care about Java, consider the independent Managing Gigabytes for Java project and related papers.

The Language Wars are Dead; Long Live the Language Wars!

The [New] Great Computer Language Shootout

This has probably already made the rounds of everyone's favorite language-specific mailing lists, but I hadn't seen it show up on LtU. One of the Debian developers has taken it upon himself to re-implement the infamous "shootout", which hasn't been updated since 2001. Most included languages have had compiler/runtime/interpreter upgrades since the original, so there is definitely some new data lurking around in all those familiar old microbenchmarks.

ECMAScript for XML (E4X) Specification

ECMA has approved the ECMAScript for XML (E4X) Specification, which defines the syntax and semantics of a set of programming language extensions adding native XML support to ECMAScript:

E4X adds native XML datatypes to the ECMAScript language, extends the semantics of familiar ECMAScript operators for manipulating XML objects and adds a small set of new operators for common XML operations, such as searching and filtering. It also adds support for XML literals, namespaces, qualified names and other mechanisms to facilitate XML processing.

E4X goes back to a request by BEA in March 2003.

Nets: Petri vs Lafont

I am currently playing with an idea of a PL based on Petri nets (place/transition nets) augmented with Prolog-like unification.
It just occurred to me that though PNs may be cognitively good for many developers (they express static topology of the system explicitly), Interaction nets may be more suitable for expressing some dynamic features.
I was trying to find any papers on relationship between Petri nets and Interaction nets, but found only indirect link through linear logic.
Is anyone aware of theoretical possibilities to (bi)simulate PNs with INs?
Or any other result about their comparative expressiveness?


Hans Nowak has a post about Poplog. I've never heard of it and I don't really get what it is, but I figured some here might be interested so I thought I'd mention it.

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