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Date:         Sat, 15 Nov 1997 04:52:19 GMT
Reply-To:     REXX Programming discussion list <REXXLIST@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
Sender:       REXX Programming discussion list <REXXLIST@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From:         Frank Clarke <nisus@MINDSPRING.COM>
Organization: MindSpring Enterprises, Inc.
Subject:      Re: Why REXX is not my favorite scripting language (was Re:
              regular expression matching)

Doug Quale <qualed@mail.state.wi.us> wrote:

>I disagree. Although "to each his own taste" may be a good motto >when comparing the merits of rock 'n roll to those of country and >western, it's not a very useful benchmark in a scientific field. In >fact, it's not very useful in many unscientific fields either.

>More specifically, "It is unproductive to carp or wail over this >government problem or that, or to complain that the policies of >one government are so different than those of another. Government >is government. One learns (because one _must_) to swallow indignities >or to supress disagreement with public policy. One does so because >IT IS REQUIRED BY THE STATUS QUO ! When you vary from >'what is required' the cognoscenti point and snicker."

Tsk. Need I point out that a program written in 1995 must still execute in 1998 ? No such thing can be said about 'social creations'. Governments (among other things) can undergo radical changes (1776, in our case); programming languages, as a general rule, must do no more than 'evolve'. How does that line go?... "The moving finger writes and having writ moves on; nor all your tears can alter a single word..." Once the spec is laid down, there's very little possibility for radical change.

And if you decide that the French language _reallyreally_ needs to be fixed, let me know. I want to be there when you explain it all to the Academy.

>Your argument says that since different programming languages use >different syntaxes, there is *no* reason to prefer one syntax over >another. Obviously then any critique or comparison is futile and >pointless.

Who said that ? Within their individual niches, each language is excellent, my snarlygrams on languages starting with "C" notwithstanding ;-) If you don't feel comfortable using some particular language for some particular task, switch languages. If you feel _really_ uncomfortable over a long period of time, _write_ your own language. But to complain that REXX isn't AutoCoder is a patent waste of time; we all know that already.

Beyond that (and judging from some later replies) nobody, probably not even Mike Cowlishaw, knows all there is to know about REXX (and by extension any other language). To say "REXX can't do ____" is an invitation that most of the denizens hereabout find impossible to resist, as you have seen.

Beyond _that_, you mustn't toss out coding examples which are little more than random keystrokes and say "Look, REXX couldn't understand this simple statement!" It's a _machine_ f'Petesake.

Frank Clarke Tampa Area REXX Programmers' Alliance Member of the REXX Language Association Join us at http://www.rexxla.org (Remove the currency symbol before replying.)


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