Some questions on Slate syntax

Brian Rice water at
Mon Mar 28 15:23:40 PST 2005

Oops. This is a reply from a couple of days ago when my workstation 
couldn't send mail temporarily - I've already answered this in another 
email, and in a better way.

On Mar 26, 2005, at 4:38 PM, Brian Rice wrote:

> On Mar 26, 2005, at 4:15 PM, David Hopwood wrote:
>> Bill Sun wrote:
>>> 1. Why 0-based arrays?
> Bill gave most of the good answers for this. We've also adapted 
> Smalltalk-80's control-flow methods for iteration so that checking 
> against size - 1 for end-of-sequence conditions is transparent (e.g. 
> below:do: vs. to:do:).
>>> 2. Why no arithmetic precedence in binary messages?
>>> Again, it seems more intuitive to include arithmetic precedence as 
>>> it's
>>> common knowledge.
>> I agree with this. OTOH Slate's syntax is derived from Smalltalk, 
>> which
>> did not have arithmetic precedence.
> This is a user interface issue and belongs in a real user interface 
> (whether you interpret that as graphical syntax or custom Slate 
> grammars for the sole purpose of making everyone comfy, and I am not 
> opposed to either, if done right). Smalltalk-80's binary operator 
> syntax is designed for simplicity and message-sending orientation, so 
> context-sensitive precedence obscures this basic way you're supposed 
> to look at things. Also, precedence decisions for anything but "common 
> knowledge operators" are anything but obvious - maybe if Perl 6's new 
> parsing structure for precedence is actually useful and not awful as I 
> suspect, we'll allow it in a user interface.
Brian T. Rice
LOGOS Research and Development

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