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Article Review – New Programming Language Makes Social Coding Easier – Technology Review

Last updated on 2014-09-07

I got this article a while ago as part of my regular subscriptions. Yet another computer language developed by another professor, because:

“I had to write code at a lower level of abstraction than I had to think about the interactions,” he says. “And so I thought it would be interesting to start writing a programming language that allowed me to write at the same level of abstraction that I think.”

Hello?!?!?! haven’t you heard of functions, methods, classes and modules? they were invented, like, 40 years ago, give or take 10 years! Oh, the problem is that code doesn’t look like simple English:

A sample line of code in a simple social news feed application reads, “LISTEN TO PEOPLE FROM mit VIA http FOR posts”, [emphasis mine] which would have the application monitor the Web for updates from a group of MIT-affiliated people.

But I can write the same in a plethora of languages, using high level abstractions. For example:

feed = listener.listenToPeople("mit", "http", "posts");

Here I created an instance of class Listener (stored in variable listener) which has a function listen which receives 3 parameters, similar to the FROM, VIA, and FOR parameters that are used in the example provided in the article. Yep, my code doesn’t look like English, but is this really the problem with computer languages? I’m not so sure. But before we create another programming language, we should at least try to find what are the problems that the existing ones have. And research in this subject is rarely done because it is VERY HARD.

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