Dependence on Programming Experts

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Wed Jul 12 16:09:27 EDT 2006

Rob Cozens wrote:

>>The key thing to remember with this proposed addition is that it's 
>>an ADDITION, and OPTION that one can CHOOSE to use if they like, or 
>>not if they don't.
> And if Pascal programmers want := does Rev support yet another 
> OPTION.  And if you want VB syntax, do we add yet another OPTION?

Reductio ad absurdum can be amusing, sometimes even pursuasive, but 
rarely truly helpful.  While we've had many requests over many years for 
what can in the 21st century rightly be called "common" assignment 
notation, yours is the first and only post to suggest Pascal be 
considered as well.

The proposed assignment OPTION is consistent with several dozen 
languages, many of which are still actively growing a strong rate, as 
opposed to Pascal which is the only one which uses Pascal-style 
assignment and is in rapid decline today.

This common assignment notation has three other factors weighing in its 
favor that Pascal notation doesn't:

- It's not nearly as obscure as Regex, which is already supported

- Moreover, it's already implemented in some contexts (when defining
   script-local vars)

- Because it's already allowed in some contexts but not others,
   the current inconsistent implementation introduces learnability
   issues that would be corrected if it were allowed for all contexts;
   alternatively I suppose they could remove the contexts supported
   but that opens up a whole other can of backward-compatibility

I find it interesting that in the currently-supported contexts this 
common notation hasn't generated argument or controversy, nor has the 
existing support for Regex which is far less xTalk-like and far more 
difficult to learn.

Most importantly, as Ken noted it appears little on this list affects 
RunRev's implementations. They will or will not add support for common 
assignment notation as they wish -- if they do, my only hope is that 
those who find it offensive please not use it so it will have no effect 
on them at all, any more than the current partial implementation has.

PS: FWIW, I was opposed to the adoption of this assignment notation when 
it was first proposed several years ago, but after thinking about it and 
weighing the pros and cons I've changed my position.  Today I see many 
upsides for convenience and evangelism, and no downsides for current or 
future users.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Media Corporation
  Ambassador at

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