[Haskell-cafe] Records

Ketil Malde ketil.malde at bccs.uib.no
Tue Nov 22 06:19:36 EST 2005

Cale Gibbard <cgibbard at gmail.com> writes:

> This really isn't so bad in practice though. I've certainly never been
> confused by it. 

Well, what can I say?  Good for you?

> You'd have to go out of your way to construct a
> situation in which it's potentially confusing


> There are much more important issues to deal with than this, really.

Like inventing as many new and wonderful symbolic operators as
possible!  Hey, why not allow quoted function names?  So that I can
defined a function "f " different from "f  "?  Or differentiate
(+4) from completely different  (+ 4), ( +4) and ( + 4) which
*obviously* are entirely differen things?

> might be relevant in the IOHCC, but not in ordinary programming.

So why not go for the Obfuscated Language Design Contest instead?

> In a sane language, small amounts of whitespace sensitivity are going
> to be around no matter what you do.

And if you already are using whitespace to separate words, surely the
logical (not to mention aesthetical) way forward would be to introduce
evene more whitespace sensitivity - here is the Holy Grail

I don't understand why this isn't obvious to people who generally
appear fairly bright, but: introducing extension that turns working
programs into non-working ones is generally a bad idea.  Having it be
due to spacing habits around symbolic operators is worse.  That
spacing changes suddenly starts bringing very complex language
extensions into the picture, with an associated heap of
incomprehensible error messages is *not* a nice thing for anybody -
except, perhaps, the two academics who wrote the paper, and the three
academics who read it.



Okay, I'm being unfair here.  Haskell is an academic language, its
primary purpose is to produce papers, not software.  And as a mere
programmer, I'm in a minority.  I think Haskell is really cool, but I
don't really belong here, and I realize of course that my voice isn't
going to carry a lot of weight.

But IF there is a desire for Haskell to be used for Real Work, I think
there should be a certain degree of stability.  Taking the function
composition operator and turning it into record selection -- depending
on spacing, of course -- is, IMO, madness.

But good luck on those papers, and see you later, probably on the
Clean mailing lists. 

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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