[Haskell-cafe] looking for origin of quote on preprocessors and language design

Bulat Ziganshin bulat.ziganshin at gmail.com
Thu Jan 7 08:03:07 EST 2010

Hello Johannes,

Thursday, January 7, 2010, 3:32:03 PM, you wrote:

> "the existence (or: need for) a preprocessor
> shows omissions in (the design of) a language."

yes, that's the common opinion. the same true for comments and
identifiers :D

shortly speaking, preprocessor is just another language on top of our
one that has poor integration with main language. this partly solved
by so-called syntactical preprocessors and even typeful ones (like
Template Haskell)

otoh there is no perfect language that is able to express any
constraint. so preprocessor, applied to any given language, provides
us additional level of expressiveness. so when you have some concrete
problem that may be expressed in A only with preprocessor and in B as
is - B is definitely better. if you typically write your programs in
C++ w/o using preprocessor, and in C - with it, C++ is better. but
when your programming level increases, you may go higher expressiveness
of language you are using and start to need use of additional
preprocessors. so if some language Pascal typically used without
preprocessor and some language C - with it, it may just mean that C
users are much more experienced and need more expressive power than
Pascal ones

Best regards,
 Bulat                            mailto:Bulat.Ziganshin at gmail.com

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