Language Arts

by Lisa Nicholls Sun, August 12 2007 09:48

On one of the RS Reporting forums somebody asked me to address this:

Say, you might be a good one to answer this, since you've worked in both types of syntax...

I've often scratched my head wondering about the curly bracket/semicolon thing. I've had occasion to muck around in C# a bit here and there, and general developer productivity sure feels stifled over there.

VFP and VB, by contrast, are quick-and-easy syntaxes to work with—write a line of code, press Enter, move on. It's just plain fast. Easy to read and follow, too.

What does all that other stuff gain anybody, anyway?

And I answered as follows, but told him I would repost here -- because it isn't really a forum-appropriate discussion.  Also I have no intention of getting involved in a flame war on one of the language forums <g>.

Colin is a better person to answer this than me -- I'm basically indifferent to syntax.  Syntax is just what gets you there, it is not what differentiates languages or productivity in languages.  And I don't distinguish between computer languages and other languages in this respect.

Productivity is defined as "the most efficient and best way to get the thing I need".

If I need something, and the seller speaks only Japanese, I should try to communicate in Japanese.  If I can get it from somebody who speaks English, I'll probably go there first, since English is my first language, but if not I better learn Japanese quick <g>.  If there are two sellers but I find out the Japanese seller has a better product, I'm still going to take the theoretically "longer route" to get what I want -- because speed isn't the only criterion. 

What's more, if I need to communicate in Japanese, I need to think about the whole gestalt; it's not just syntax/vocab/grammar.  IOW, people's thought patterns and habits are formed by language, so I'd better take that into account when negotiating.  That's part of the price I'm willing to pay for an uncommon product, or a product of higher quality.

FYI I don't have a single Visual Studio solution that doesn't have projects in multiple languages... and that's one of the best things about .NET IMHO.

You could say that this discussion has a partial relevance to the Reporting world, since Reporting a nexus for many different types of languages... and frankly it really bugs me when people freak out because the custom code environment is VB or some example is C# only.  But, in general, we should take this to a different forum <s>  -- I'm answering you here but let's not continue, okay?

So, Mr. Bowman... the conversation ball is in your court...


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