[Haskell-cafe] Is Excel a FP language?

Claus Reinke claus.reinke at talk21.com
Wed Apr 25 06:23:17 EDT 2007

> My opposition proposed (after some "weeding out") that there is a
> distinction between Excel, the application, the GUI and Excel, the
> language (which we eventually agreed (I think) manifested itself as a
> .xls file). Similarly, VB is both a language and a development
> environment and referring to VB is a potential ambiguity. I disagree
> with this analogy on the grounds that the very definition of Excel
> (proposed by Microsoft) makes no distinction. Further, it is impossible
> to draw a boundary around one and not the other.

without commenting on excel, i believe this separation of development
environment and language is outdated. development environments are
no good unless they are intimately aware of the language and language
designers should keep development environments in mind. language
designs get too complicated if they try to cover issues that are better
handled in the development environment, and such environments are
much easier to create for languages supportive of such efforts.

recent trends in semantics-aware ides highlight one side of the 
association, and of course, there are the ancient lisp and smalltalk,
where the languages not only ease tool development, but trying to
understand smalltalk as a notation only, rather than an image-based
language/environment, is really missing half the point.


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