[erlang-questions] A proposal for Unicode variable and atom names in Erlang.

Steve Davis <>
Tue Nov 6 01:35:29 CET 2012


OK, so I can't resist this example:

Suppose the author writing in a natural language where the *exact same unicode characters* have entirely different semantics?

Map = ...

In Dutch, "Map" translates to "Folder" for an English speaker -- but the kick is that the Dutch also happen to be amazing English speakers - so it could mean what you expect a map to be or not. So the naming in the source means precisely nothing and does not help you (no matter how much post-processing you may choose to apply).

I have enough of a hard time with computer languages without having to know over 200 natural languages to boot.

Is the right decision, perhaps, to say that we need to agree on just one natural language for source - since that means you need to learn at most two languages? (And, also, did that natural language decision not happen already in every major computer system?)

If you think it's a good idea to change that status quo, then please let me know which natural language to use (yes, even if the choice were not a natural language that I currently know), just so I have a limit on where I need to educate myself. I have enough issues with encodings without being asked to learn every natural language in existence.

/s

On Nov 5, 2012, at 8:28 AM, Steve Davis <> wrote:

> It just seemed to be a short way to encapsulate the issues I see with the issue. There's no doubt that ROK's posts were far more detailed but a casual reader may miss the point. I have no doubt that if a coder can write in their native language then they would choose to do that more times than not. There's also no real reason that module or function names should not be "unicoded"... so the intent of the entire source could be natural-language encoded and balkanize the codebase. I'm not sure what the solution is, but is a gradual move towards introducing the ability to express source in natural language a solution to this problem? I'm not at all convinced of that.
> 
> On Nov 4, 2012, at 7:02 PM, Toby Thain <> wrote:
> 
>> On 04/11/12 7:57 PM, Steve Davis wrote:
>>> I'm personally looking forward to attempting to maintain open source
>>> kanji. An awesome challenge.
>>> 
>> 
>> Is it that a lot of people on this thread don't read ROK's posts? Or is there another explanation for what just looks like wilful obtuseness?
>> 
>> --T
> 




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