[erlang-questions] "Erlang as a First Language" -- crazy? or just stupid?

Michael Turner leap@REDACTED
Fri Dec 25 06:59:17 CET 2009

On 12/25/2009, "Kenji Rikitake" <kenji.rikitake@REDACTED> wrote:
>One very good thing about Erlang is that all variables are only assigned
>ONCE; this will make the debugging much easier.

There's another good thing about Erlang assignment: it's not really
assignment.  Which is good, because assignment is a pretty weird
concept.  We just forgot.

Years ago, I has a girlfriend who was not exactly bad at math (we were in
the same differential equations course; she was scoring higher on the
tests).  She knew nothing about computers, though.  She pointed out
something she was sure was an error in a FORTRAN program I was writing:

    X = X+1

To her, this was impossible.  I tried to explain assignment, but I think
she was still puzzled in the end.

Erlang "assignment" is really more like a kind of equation solving.  To
the extent that people new to programming have any mathematical
intuitions or skills they might bring to bear on learning the skill,
Erlang would seem to be a better match to what they learned in their
basic algebra classes.

-michael turner

On 12/25/2009, "Kenji Rikitake" <kenji.rikitake@REDACTED> wrote:

>In the message <9bd8a08a0912240246p7da4c4b8p8aeb99d7a326214d@REDACTED>
>dated Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 11:46:19AM +0100,
>egarrulo <egarrulo@REDACTED> writes:
>> Would you throw away all your Emacs goodies and go back to that?
>If I didn't have to write Japanese (or even I have to), I'll stick to
>vim (solely for the multi-level undo feature which BSD nvi doesn't have
>- so vi is enough). Note that I will not claim which is better or not; I
>rather want to tell you need to get the things done anyway even if you
>haven't got the tools you want.  And I've written my PhD thesis in
>English without Emacs :) (I'm writing this using Emacs BTW.)
>I think automatic indentation is essential for editing the code of most
>of the programming languages including Erlang, C, awk, Perl, Python, or
>whatever too.
>I still rarely use source code debuggers unless to analyze a coredump
>file for the stack trace.  I'd rather review the source code myself and
>simulate how it works to find out what I did wrong when debugging.
>One very good thing about Erlang is that all variables are only assigned
>ONCE; this will make the debugging much easier.
>And I suggest you to read the "10. The more talented somebody is, the
>less they need the props." section of the Web page in the following URL.
>Having a better toolset does not necessarily guarantee you can do much
>better work.
>Just a thought.
>Kenji Rikitake
>erlang-questions mailing list. See http://www.erlang.org/faq.html
>erlang-questions (at) erlang.org

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