Erlang language issues
Mon Apr 22 19:58:35 CEST 2002
On Wed, 17 Apr 2002 11:56:44 +0200 (MET DST)
Richard Carlsson <> wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Apr 2002, Vlad Dumitrescu wrote:
> > Would a "block comment" concept be wrong for Erlang? Difficult to
> > implement?
> Not difficult to implement; just a question of deciding on the
> delimiters. Joe Armstrong also proposed this, mainly to make it easier
> to write edoc documentation, and it has been agreed that block comments
> should be added to the language, probably for the next release. (Should
> have told you this before, Vlad - sorry.)
> After some initial attempts at inventing new delimiters, all of which
> had subtle problems, we came to the conclusion that the normal C comment
> delimiters /* ... */ were probably the best choice.
> Flames, anybody?
Yes. I object to the characterization of any part of C as 'normal'.
The only pressing reason to have block comments that I can see is to
HTML. Personally I find that approach, with any two languages, very ugly
- polyglots are interesting curiousities, but relying on them during real
work is headache-y.
I know next to nothing about XML, but - isn't it supposed to provide
alternatives for this sort of thing? By supplying a 'structured document'
approach? Parts of a document can be in Erlang, parts can be in HTML,
diagrams and theme music and whatever else. The Erlang part can be
automatically extracted just before compilation - it's not as if the
compiler should care what's in comments. But I know nothing about XML, so
maybe I'm on the wrong track with that idea.
Erlang is in theory self-documenting - but choosing appropriate function
and variable names is a lot harder than it sounds. Many functions should
probably be nested, but aren't, resulting in some very strange names,
suffixed with _tail or 0. And single-letter variable names are a hard
habit to break, when called for - sometimes they are OK, in utility
functions where there is not much that can be assumed about the values.
Other times they are disastrous, although, probably worse in a
non-single-assignment language like C.
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