What Languages Fix: Graphically
Paul Graham’s article What languages fix is about Kevin Kelleher’s description of each programming language in terms of the problems with other languages that it fixes. I decided to make this into a graph where each node is a language, and the edge represents the relation “x fixes y”.
Here is the list:
- Algol: Assembly language is too low-level.
- Pascal: Algol doesn’t have enough data types.
- Modula: Pascal is too wimpy for systems programming.
- Simula: Algol isn’t good enough at simulations.
- Smalltalk: Not everything in Simula is an object.
- Fortran: Assembly language is too low-level.
- Cobol: Fortran is scary.
- PL/1: Fortran doesn’t have enough data types.
- Ada: Every existing language is missing something.
- Basic: Fortran is scary.
- APL: Fortran isn’t good enough at manipulating arrays.
- J: APL requires its own character set.
- C: Assemby language is too low-level.
- C++: C is too low-level.
- Java: C++ is a kludge. And Microsoft is going to crush us.
- C#: Java is controlled by Sun.
- Lisp: Turing Machines are an awkward way to describe computation.
- Scheme: MacLisp is a kludge.
- T: Scheme has no libraries.
- Common Lisp: There are too many dialects of Lisp.
- Dylan: Scheme has no libraries, and Lisp syntax is scary.
- Perl: Shell scripts/awk/sed are not enough like programming languages.
- Python: Perl is a kludge.
- Ruby: Perl is a kludge, and Lisp syntax is scary.
- Prolog: Programming is not enough like logic.
I put the above text into a file called ‘fix.txt’ and then wrote the following ruby code to convert it into a directed graph in the DOT language:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
I had to tweak the output a bit, but the final result is a very nice summation of Kelleher’s list: