What is "Open Language"?

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Sat Oct 24 15:12:59 EDT 2015

Richmond wrote:

 > as people are NOT computers, not vice-versa, I cannot see how an
 > "Open Language" = with Human-like logic and endlessly extensible
 > in a human-like fashion is ever going to be possible.

One could argue it never has, at least with some commands.

My favorite example is the "export snapshot" command - even with the 
Dictionary guidance we all need to turn to for that no matter how many 
times we've used it, it's so complex with such a combinatorial explosion 
of options that I defy anyone to make a readable BNF for it. :)

Instead of using commas we delimit options with assistive noise words, 
like "at" or "with", but with a command as complex as "export" snapshot" 
do we specify the image compressor using "with" or "as", or is "as" for 
the file name, since "at" is used for size?

And all the while, just like comma-delimited args, we must memorize the 
order of them.  You can't just use "at" followed by the thumbnail size 
just anywhere; all options must be used in a specific order.

For some complex things I find myself admiing R, XML, and other 
languages where arguments are name-value pairs.

For example, if "export snapshot" were an R command it might look 
something like:

   ExportSnapshot file=Myfile.png format=png size=128,256

Even better, in R most arguments are purely optional; anything omitted 
uses a reasonable default.  LiveCode kinda does this too, but we really 
appreciate it with R's plot command:

   plot <data>

...gives you a gorgeous scatter plot with useful x- and y-axis labels 
and well-placed tick marks, without having to specify anything; you can 
specify as much or as little as you like with most commands and expect a 
useful result.

I'm not proposing LiveCode switch to name-value pair arguments, but in 
some cases it would be a nice option, "export snapshot" being among them.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com                http://www.FourthWorld.com

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