[self-interest] Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and..

Michael Latta lattam at mac.com
Wed Aug 5 22:46:19 UTC 2009

I would say that a big part is more about documentation than language  
design for the beginner.  If Smalltalk/Self/Objective-C had  
documentation that approached the problem of learning step-wise and  
covered all the basics rather than the concepts, it might be less of  
an issue for beginners to learn them.  When control structures are  
built-in they get documented.  When they are in a library they are  
often left for the programmer to discover.  This is not always the  
case, but certainly contributes to the problem.


On Aug 5, 2009, at 4:12 PM, Steve Dekorte wrote:

> On 2009-08-05, at 7:31 AM, brassplume wrote:
>> PHP and Perl are simple languages. Not Self. You can be a crap
>> programmer and do lots of useful CRUD things with those languages.
>> Semantically the are complicated. And ultimately they're limiting
>> because of that. The control structures are built in and obvious. In
>> Self, Smalltalk, or Lisp, you need to bring a lot of knowledge to
>> either build your own or see how somebody added objects/classes to
>> do that.
> "The control structures are built in and obvious"
> How are they any more obvious?
> FWIW, I've noticed that there is an inverse correlation between a
> person's sensitivity to negatives of X and the popularity of X among
> their peers and that this effect is so powerful that it is often
> confused with objective judgement.
> For example, a window's developer friend of mine who happily deals
> with the complexity of C++ templates (which are Turing complete!)
> claimed he was unable to wrap his head around Objective-C 's infix
> message syntax. Had Microsoft used Objective-C, I suspect his opinion
> of what is obvious would be quiet different.
> I can see the evolutionary benefit of this mental trait for getting
> groups of individuals to cooperate but blindness to it's influence is
> IMO the largest barrier to human social, political and technological
> progress.
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