Only Syntax

Journal of my investigation into the development of a new programming language

Saturday, April 05, 2003


Welcome to Only Syntax

Hello and welcome to my investigation into developing a new programming language. I'm calling it "Only Syntax" (the blog, not the as-yet-unnamed language) because syntax is what is driving me to think there needs to be YAPL.

I suspect that if it gets any attention at all, a primary criticism will be that my language isn't "really" any different from existing programming languages, that it is only (as was often said about HyperTalk) "syntactic sugar". I want to address that charge up front and say, "guilty as charged".

I see a lot of parallels between my thinking about user interfaces in traditional application software and about syntax of programming languages. Many people see picky little details like button placement as "just eye candy", but I believe that attention to such details can make software more useful. Many programmers think it doesn't matter whether brackets, begin/end pairs, or indentation defines blocks in a language; I think issues like this affect the ease with which we read and write software.

There is a common argument made that user interface is "just a matter of what you are used to" - implying that there is no right and wrong. And of course there is some truth to it; when you are used to one way of doing things, that way is easier than another way you haven't learned yet. But I don't accept the argument that it is JUST what you are used to - there are also objective reasons for making UI choices. I believe the same is true of programming language syntax, and I hope to make good, objective choices as I explore.


03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003   04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003   10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003   01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005   01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005  

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