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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Language Innovation and Postmodern Computing

I don't want to go too far toward making some classically stupid prediction. But frankly I am not looking for much change in our current programming languages.

We need all new models rather than incremental "improvements". Agile languages can be improved incrementally without a lot of central organization.

This is all dancing around the real problem of making computing more accessible to "end users". Face it, programmers are today's telephone operators and we are simply in the way. We'll continue using our quaint little notations for some time to come, but these efforts should be focused on eliminating what can be automated toward all new concepts in computing.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://subtextual.org by Comrade John Edwards from MIT's software design group has a nice demo and a manifesto along those lines... -- Manuel

Gregory said...

When I was in college (1984), I took a programming languages survey course. The instructor, a visiting professor from Austria, finished up the course with a Prolog project. At that time, Prolog was starting to make news because of the Japanese 5th Generation Computing project. However, our instructor wasn't excited about Prolog because of the potential for artificial intelligence, but because with some of the alternative syntaxes (we used Micro Prolog, which supported a lisp-style syntax as well as an English looking one called "Simple"), he felt like he could give his mother a Prolog listing and she could read it.

The interest in Prolog has certainly died down, with the 5th Generation Project and the whole 80s AI boom not living up to the hype. However, Prolog's readability might be interesting to look at for ideas for future languages.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.