Some questions on Slate syntax

Brian T Rice water at
Mon Mar 28 00:59:02 PST 2005

On Sun, 27 Mar 2005, Bill Sun wrote:

> What about precedence in arithmetic messages?  I found the following
> footnote in the language reference manual reguarding aritmetic
> precedence:
> "This removes a source of grammatical complexity in a language where
> anyone can add new binary selectors or implementations. It is our
> policy that conventional mathematical notation and visual convenience
> belong in user interface libraries."
> Cound someone elaborate on that?  Some examples will be helpful.

I wrote it. Precedence matters when you're formatting actual mathematical
formulas, not sending messages to objects. The syntax as is focusses on
the latter, and not the former. For an example of the former, see
Mathematica, Maple, or any other symbolic user interface to mathematics or
conceptual diagramming tools (which I do want to write and support in

I simply do not want to ever get in a discussion about precedence in a
basic programming language grammar that only cares about message-sends.
It's wrongly mixing totally different modes of interaction.

Brian T. Rice
LOGOS Research and Development

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