Sunday, 18 February 2018

Language design: class

With my limited intelligence I had an idea to start designing my own programming language. There are some examples of the syntax in Roguetemple forums 'My language' thread that has had zero interest. I don't know, I'm pretty stoked about programming languages.

When it comes to really important stuff in a language it's how to manage data with functions and/or classes (or something else). My current understanding about class is that it's a nice theoretic idea which most often simply breaks in real life situations. That's why we have those getters and setters and the class can be exposed or it's not going to be neatly modular piece of code. Also in my experience inheritance is way harder than people think at first.

Functional style has different way to handle data which also is highly theoretic when you think about so called pure functions. In reality most functions are what experts call procedures in that they change whatever data is input to them.

My vast experience tells that both classes and functions have their problems and also both work better in different situations. The obvious question when designing a new language of course is there a way to solve those problems in some way? Or do they even need to be fixed, maybe they simply always exist no matter how you try to prevent them. It's like removing pointers from Java, did that actually fix anything important? Sometimes languages try to prevent the dumbness of programmers and they take it maybe a bit too far.

I've thought about one way to relieve data handling with something called resource block which is a collection of data that can be optionally limited to some classes. This data is like static data in C++ that it's initialized when the program is started, but it could be possible to change it. I'm using that kind of data in my C++ projects all the time, but there isn't any kind of built-in way to handle that data in C++, you have to use namespaces to hide it etc. By the way, I don't think I'm going to have namespace in my language, because I think it's fixing a problem that should not be a problem in the first place.

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