Friday, January 11, 2008

Haskell syntax is not Java syntax; good or bad?

In this blog, the author expresses the opinion that an important part of a language popularity: Java was successful because it looked familiar to C++ developers, and similarly new languages should use Java syntax. This struck a chord: after all, I have started writing a pure functional language using Java syntax. I thought that having a similar syntax would help grasping the language better. But now I wonder. Not only do C++ and Java share a similar syntax, they also share some concepts (objects, etc...). If a language is intrinsically different (like a pure functional language with monads, say), then having a different syntax tells you straight away: warning! This is different, so not only you must learn a new syntax, but you must also learn a new way of programming.
So maybe having Haskell using a totally different syntax is A Good Thing. And it gives me a nice excuse to stop trying to create my own little language that looks a bit like Java but doesn't act like Java and concentrate on writing Haskell code.

No comments: