LANG: simplicity

Thu, 14 Jul 1994 23:47:09 -0700 (PDT)

>these discussions of Lisp and Forth disturb me a little bit. We want everyday
>people to be able to create VRML documents. You can't expect an accountant
>from Des Moines to learn lisp just for this?

i completely agree here. i'd look along the lines of some form of
BASIC or equivalent language. look at the apple ii: phenomenally successful
because, at the time, it was the easiest (&most fun) machine to program. now
the requirements have mutated: we've got MAC USERS out there, folks, and we
have NEWBIE WIINDOWS users and probably even the Heathen out there trying to
use this. for the sake of accessibility, we should avoid lisp, forth, perl,
and anything else that is inscrutable without detailed study, analysis, and
real work put into it. think of how successful HTML is already - but maybe i
would've preferred they choose people with some sense of taste, perhaps
programmers, to come up with something innarestin' on the web instead of some
of the crap that's out there. "This is Our Computer Lab. Click to hear a
taped introduction by the director."

>The language problem is actually a very hard problem to solve. Look at
>Director, for example. It was created for artists and designers to use, but if
>most of them employ a programmer of some sort to do the really hard scripting

ah, painful experience! director is a pretty powerful environment that
can do a fair amount without even entering anything more than tag code...and
although the interpreter munches stale pizza, the language isn't so bad...a
little goofy, some historical stuff that's hilarious, but overall just
hypertalk+, with a (somewhat unfortunate) dark blend of pascal in there
somewhere. it's probably a level too goofy and much too badly parsed to be of
use in this case, but bears a quick look for a good comparison of one end to
start at. i think this language will be designed ground up, perhaps with an
eye on making tight code instead of cheesy, and using few characters...i don't
think englishlike, because i think that leads to a mess in the cognition should be clear tokenization of language, but in a logical
sense (pascal, FORTRAN, offenders of the faith...) according to what a human
might be thinking while teaching a machine to create worlds...hell, that's a
weekend project for some hardworking team of somebodys...

>We need a really simple, english-like scripting language, in my opinion, if we
>want real people to write scripts.

simple but not simplistic. sensible and cool - but not english.

- sven

| Hello, I am: | s.r. prozak cblanc@pomona.
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