The free-market in computer programming

Languages Thrive on Defying Rules

Conrad Weisert, September 4, 2011

Famous principles from leading programming language experts

"Where the language allows a constant, it should allow a variable; where it allows a variable, it should allow an expression." Al Perlis (Algol), 1960
"If a given sequence of symbols has an obvious meaning, that meaning will be allowed." PL/I Design committee, 1963
"Provide as good support for user-defined types as for built-in-types." Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), 1991

The above principles were intended to guide the design and evolution of new programming languages. They're considered non-controversial; very few experts would disagree with them.

A little quiz

  1. Name a vintage procedural programming language that violated the above principles: _________________

  2. Name an object-oriented programming language that violates the above principles: __________________

  3. Name two of the most popular and widely used
    programming languages for business applications: ________________   _________________

  4. Is Java the the 21st century Cobol? _________________

Last modified 4 September 2011

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