UT Lisp Users Group?

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Wed Jul 13 16:02:42 MDT 2005


On Jul 13, 2005, at 3:02 PM, Stuart Jansen wrote:
>
> C++ : Object oriented. Messier than Java. No big deal.
>

C++ is more of a multi-paradigm language than a pure object-oriented  
one.   It's got some extremely powerful features, but is very  
complicated.  I wouldn't call it no big deal, but it wouldn't be my  
first choice for most things.   It'd be hard to judge any particular  
skill set from a C++ ad, and it might be difficult to find a group of  
C++ programmers that actually know the same subsets/paradigms of the  
language.

> PL/SQL : Procedural. The only really interesting part is the  
> declarative
> SQL. Not very indicative.
>
> asm : Procedural. At best. But at least they know what all the Java is
> doing deep underneath.
>

Only if you describe 'procedural' very loosely.  Of course, there are  
a lot of things you can do easily in asm that are very difficult to  
do in a strictly procedural language.

> Fortran : /me shivers
>

Still one of the fastest languages out there for numerical  
processing, and widely used in the high performance computing world.   
If you need to do distributed number crunching, a Fortran/MPI guy  
might be good to look for.

> Smalltalk : Not widely used outside academia. Probably have a better
> background in theory.
>

Smalltalk is what Object Oriented Programming was supposed to look  
like, more or less, and was created largely by the guy who coined the  
term.  I don't think it's particularly widely used in academia any  
more, either, but it's a very nice language and it and its  
descendants have spawned a LOT of cool technology that's used in  
common dynamic languages today.

Smalltalk is also full of the sort of higher-order programming that  
you can do in functional languages, and so skilled Smalltalk  
programmers are going to have a different way of thinking about  
problems than Java programmers.

> Perl : Procedural/object oriented/functional/crazy powerful regex/ 
> scary.
> Depending on how much they know, could be indicative of a skilled
> programmer. Alternatively, if they say they know just enough to know
> better than to use perl, that's also a good sign. ;-)
>

You can program Perl like C, or you can program it like Lisp (or so  
I've heard).  It doesn't force much of anything on you aside from  
learning its myriad implicit semantic details and complicated syntax,  
and just about everyone's dabbled in it at one point or another, so  
it's hard to say much about someone just from perl experience.

> Lisp: Functional. Very different from Java. Even if you don't use it
> regularly, learning to think in a lispy manner will make you a better
> programmer..

Depending on the Lisp, it can be more or less functional.  It's got  
side-effect functions, destructive functions, etc. so no Lisp I'm  
aware of is purely functional.  Common Lisp has iteration constructs  
and such that the more-pure Scheme doesn't.  It's also used more  
these days than most people are aware, though it's still a minor  
player.  A seasoned Lisper will have a very different way of  
approaching problems than that of most other language users.   
Metaprogramming-- extending the language to meet your problem  
domain-- is very common in Lisp.

>
> So no, not all languages are equal.
>

Don't forget purely functional languages, like Haskell, Erlang,  
etc.   Or Prolog.


         --Levi


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