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Re: Assignment Operator.

daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Tue Nov 8 20:44:47 1994 )

To: brandon@avon.declab.usu.edu
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 06:39:37 -0500 (EST)
Cc: coldstuff@MIT.EDU
In-Reply-To: <9411090123.AA01655@avon.declab.usu.edu> from "brandon@avon.declab.usu.edu" at Nov 8, 94 06:23:42 pm
From: colinm@colinm.ozemail.com.au (Colin McCormack)
Reply-To: colinm@colinm.ozemail.com.au


> < Make ':=' a synonym for '='.

> ... so you would suggest adding the operator ':=' to the driver along
> side '='?  I would be rather reluctant to make such a change because
> it is 'dirty' (so to speak).

In my opinion, the act of changing the server to accomodate specific
learning difficulties (like an inability to comprehend `=') is dirty.
It's a notational convention, and I believe the assertion that there
are people out there who can simultaneously have real difficulty with
'=', and still produce worthwhile code is false. 

Your stated problem is that people have difficulty using one form.
I don't know if that is so, as I've never met anyone for whom that
would present a serious problem, but if one assumes that it is so,
and wants to accomodate them, that is still no reason to indicate
a preference for one form over the conventional form.  I'd argue
that people familiar with C++ (on which C-- is modelled) would 
have more difficulty if we forced a parochial dialect on them,
and that while this difficulty is no big deal, it's more of a 
productivity loss than the alternative.

So I recommend that the choice between the two forms remain in the
hands of the programmer, in this case, since there's no real cost.

> Not to mention that if the idea were
> to measure how much of either is used when would we put a stopping
> point to collect the data and make a decision?

As to measurement, I believe it'd be an ongoing source of raw data
and amusement.  I see no need for a decision point, as I see no 
inherent difference in the two forms, ":=" is just syntactic 
saccharine.  The two forms can coexist until doomsday, for all I care.

In summary: I have no desire to foist "=" onto anyone.   I have no intention
of having ":=" foisted onto me.