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Scary Programming
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There are some really fucked up programming languages out there. I figure I can afford to be profane, though, since the subject really deserves such treatment. Besides, the first example of such fucked-upped-ness is actually called Brainfuck. It's Turing-complete, but only has eight recognised instructions, each instruction only a single character long. It's like assembly for people who think x86 microcode is fun to play with over breakfast. But, hey! The compiler is only 240 bytes on the Amiga!

Next up is Malbolge, also appropriately named. It's the only programming language deliberately designed from the ground-up to be hard to program. As the creator reasoned, hey, no-one had filled that niche, yet. Why's it so hard? For starters, it's in trinary...

My favourite toy language is Befunge, which is kind of like the unholy offspring of Perl and Fortran (as darthmaus so succinctly put it). I think I like it mostly because the spatial layout of the program is an inherent part of its syntax and semantics. Any language that needs strategic canals of whitespace so that the instruction pointer has room to increment without bumping into the wrong code is a fucked-up language.

Speaking of Fortran, I always want to call it Forth. That doesn't matter, except that one of the coolest and most bizarre programming languages I've ever used, MUF, is based on the philosophy behind Forth. Just imagine a programming language where all data manipulation is done on a single stack and the syntax uses Reverse Polish Notation. You have never seen so many push and pop commands!

You'd be surprised what someone can do with all these freaky languages. There was the guy who decided to write a quadrilingual program in C, Perl, Brainfuck, and Befunge...

And then there's LISP. I won't say anything more on that subject in case there are children present.

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Those are *SO* totally fucked up! I get really scared when I see these sorts of things going on with programmers. I *suppose* it's kinda cool and fun, but there are *FAR* too many freaks out there that think that this sort of thing is expected in the professional world. They should all be shot.

Hey man, compared to those others, LISP is *EASY* to work with!

Any language that doesn't allow for comments isn't a *REAL* language!

I actually like Scheme, a bastard child of LISP. The last line was intended to be ironic--all the people out there who fear and loathe LISP should consider it down-right user-friendly after looking at the rest of that menagerie.

I've never played with Scheme but I've got a book here that I got at the $20/box sale in March. And there's even one on Ruby too! :) To be honest, the only language that I'm using right now is Java and that's because it's just so damned easy to use and FREE as well! :)

And yes, compared to the rest of that malignant mess, LISP is *SO* much mopre preferable! :)

I'm drifting towards Lisp. Not much of a career move maybe, but my palindrome project has been a bear to write in Perl. I suspect Lisp would have been much better.

What's your favorite practical programming language?

What's your favorite practical programming language?

I haven't stretched my programming muscles in too long. The last language I acquainted myself with was Ruby, which is an interpreted language with similarities to Python, except OO is inherent rather than grafted on. It's a very clean language, but young, yet. It's very good at making complex data structures simple and easy to work with.

I got a great kick out of Scheme when it was used as a demonstration language in a CompSci class I took ages ago, and I'm happy to find that the GIMP uses a Scheme flavour as its built-in scripting language. Scheme is best-known (if that's even the right term) as a practical LISP, since it allows the side-effects which LISP abhors.

And if it's dynamic web pages, I'd go with PHP. Although, I hear Python is really good at that and makes it easier to write clean code...

Pardon the following pedantry. My personal history has laden me with lots of ammunition for shootouts between obscure scripting languages.

I totally agree about Scheme. I didn't make the distinction, but for my comments you can s/Lisp/Scheme/g. BTW, maybe you were referring to 1976 Lisp, but as far as I know Scheme and Common Lisp both have side-effects. Of languages that are purely functional, Haskell is very interesting -- good brain stretcher. I've always wanted some reason to use it.

I think you got Perl and Python mixed up versus Ruby -- Perl is the OO bolt-on. Python is intrinsically OO, but its model is not as deep as Ruby's.

Personally, I think "web programming" as a separate discipline is dead, but that's another rant. PHP is a contender, but so is almost anything nowadays.

BTW, are you still interested in the humanicopter thing at UBC? I'm biking out there tomorrow morning.

when I was introduced to Fortran in my first year, I remember it as a language that made some form of filthy sense to me ...

that said, the only other language I had seen was Borland's Turbo Pascal ... using the MAC compiler on ancient floppy only macintosh computers.

have fun ...

Ah, Borland TP 5, my first programming language.

What's frightening is that it still underlay huge swathes of the OS even up until the 9.x versions...

now that I think about it, I was writing garbage in BASIC long before that ... but I hardly count that as programming.

... there are scarier things about the MAC OS than just the programming language it is built on. *grin*

You sonofabitch. I have a LISP project to finish. Don't scare me! (more. Okay, "don't drive me into the bottomless pit of despair" would be more appropriate)

Just consider how nice it is to work with LISP as opposed to any of those other misbegotten freaks birthed by mathematicians and CompSci academics!

Back when I was a yuut (and a young yuut at that, 8-12 years of age), I used to program in Basic on my Apple IIe for fun on weekends. To this day, certain combinations of punctuation can combine to take me back... as can pretty much any numbered list... though possibly I'm kidding.

I did Turbo Pascal in high school, but somehow, it just wasn't the same... the tasks we were told to do were irritatingly simplistic and offensive to the highly moralistic person that I was in those days (really, I was once highly moralistic). I was boooooooored.

Pascal compiler + outdated TP5 book + home computer = fun.

Pascal compiler + physics teacher + school lab = boring.

It's always more interesting when you're using to do things that you want to do. Yeah, the tasks in CompSci class were dull and uninteresting.

I used to love Basic. Or at least, that is what I remember.

Now I have to get around to learning VBA because it is the core programming language of our new GIS software. Either that or Python. I have been putting this off for about 2 years now. :)

I haven't done much programming in a long time, mostly just fiddling with the macro language embedded in the old version of our GIS called Arc Macro Language (AML).

Anyone know of any good VBA resources on the Net?

Guh, VB is just that; Visual BASIC. It hasn't improved any by adding more complexity.

I've got a book on VBA that you can borrow, if you like. Mind, it's about four years old now. (*Rummages in old textbooks box*) Ah, yes: O'Reilly's VB & VBA in a Nutshell, First Edition, featuring VB 6. What version is it up to, now?

I have VBA 6.3. Still, how much can a programming language change? (Yes that was meant to be funny). I love O'Reilly books. :)

That would be cool it I could borrow it. You are coming to Settlers tomorrow, I assume?

I used to love programming in Basic because while the other students were fighting to get time on the four Apples, I went to the mainframe (you know, one of the monsters that filled up a room in the main school, with terminals in the other schools in the school district) with the paper printout (no monitor) and did all my assignments without interruption. I only ever got bumped by teachers who needed to enter in grades.

And Traders was such a cool game. Wish I could remember what kind of mainframe it was.

Am coming. Will put book in my bag so I remember it.

Great, thanks very much.

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