[Haskell-cafe] Re: "Haskell is a scripting language inspiredby Python."

Donn Cave donn at avvanta.com
Thu Nov 4 20:00:42 EDT 2010

Quoth Andrew Coppin <andrewcoppin at btinternet.com>,
> I didn't get to see the Amiga 600 until at least five or six years later 
> than that. (It's actually news to me that the Amiga line is that old.) 
> And I spent most of my time programming it in Pascal (or AMOS BASIC - 
> but that's not really "BASIC" any more). And between that, there was 
> Borland Turbo Pascal 5.5 for MS-DOS, if you were forced to use a PC. 
> It's scary to think that even way back then, vastly superior languages 
> were being used in secret...

I imagine it's the same in most areas of human endeavor.  When the
Amiga came out, I remember a somewhat effusive article in a major
magazine (BYTE, I think?), enough that it sure would have been my
choice (had I the funds and need for a computer.)  But of course,
for all it's obviously vast superiority, never really went anywhere.
Haskell has a lot going for it, too, but that doesn't make much
difference in the big picture.

Is it because merit just doesn't count?  Tough question.  The Amiga
had some great stuff, but also some rough edges, and while it may have
all been about marketing and herd behavior, you can't totally discount
the possibility that people just know what they like, and that wasn't it.
Surely it's the same with Haskell in some ways.

I don't care about whether Python had any influence, but I'd sure
like to stamp out the "scripting language" rumor.  For that matter,
I propose that there is hardly any such thing as a scripting language
per se, but rather that it's a relative notion - if I have an
application X, then I may enhance it with a scripting language Y,
but outside of that context it's a programming language, not a
scripting language.  I know this contradicts common usage to a
considerable extent, but it's an ignorant and foolish common usage.

I suppose the confusion may begin with system scripting languages,
like the UNIX shell or REXX, where the parallel between an OS and
an application may not be as obvious (unless you're an Amiga geek!)
as the resemblance between the shell and other interpreted
programming languages.

	Donn Cave, donn at avvanta.com

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