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Re: assignment operator

daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Thu Mar 9 08:29:53 1995 )

From: Alex Stewart <riche@crl.com>
To: nop@ccs.neu.edu (Jay Carlson)
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 05:18:48 -0800 (PST)
Cc: cadams@weather.brockport.edu, crag@serial.mit.edu, coldstuff@MIT.EDU,
        nop@fuji.ccs.neu.edu, eostrom@ccs.neu.edu
In-Reply-To: <199503081855.NAA14932@fuji.ccs.neu.edu> from "Jay Carlson" at Mar 8, 95 01:55:39 pm

Ok, I might as well stick in my 2 cents once again, for whatever good (or bad)
it may do..

Basically, I agree with Jay on just about everything he said, so go read his
message :)

The one thing I don't quite agree on is the symbol for assignment-expression
(of course)..

Personally, I'd prefer :=..  It's already used in at least one language for
this purpose (and I don't believe that just because Pascal uses something it
must be shunned from the face of computing land foerverafter, unlike some
people apparently do), so it's no great stretch, it has an '=' in it (something
which I actually believe fairly strongly about in this area, as it makes it a
_lot_ more obvious by looking at it what it might have to do with), it just
kinda generally looks like an assignment-type-thing (I dunno, just my aesthetic
sense, I guess), and it doesn't have any potentially confusing alternate
meanings in other languages that I know of..

'=:' could be argued similarly, but I dunno, just kinda looks like it's got
something hanging off the end of it.. rather unappealing to look at as far as
I'm concerned (sorry, it's that pesky aesthetic sense again, and partially my
character set in this font, which puts the : lower than the =)

I really don't like -> because it's got a completely different meaning in one
of the most havily used languages currently available, and would just get
horribly confusing, I think.  Anyway, it goes the wrong way.

I don't particularly like <- mainly because it doesn't have an = in it (as I
mentioned above), and because it doesn't much look like an expression either
(it looks like a statement.. tho I suppose any assignment will conceptually
seem more like a statement, even if it isn't, but at least '='-based things
have a history of expressionism(?) to back them up..)

Oh, and Gustavo, I don't know _what_ you're talking about with ':=' and
mistyping it as '=' (which doesn't exist as an operator).. So what?  they get a
parse error and they go fix it.. it's not like they're mistyping '==' as '=',
which is where the huge problem arises in C and MOO and other things..

Anyway, just a couple of comments on Jay's message:

> = is RIGHT OUT.

ditto, ditto, ditto.

> > The
> > (IMO sad) fact of the matter is that fewer and fewer students are even
> > taught Pascal before C, so I REALLY think diverging away from C syntax
> > just because of some misguided notion that "we can do it better" is a BAD
> > idea.  

Actually, Pascal was officially declared a dead language a little while back..
Haven't you heard?  Mind you, I'm not particularly sad to see it go, tho there
are some others who shall remain nameless which I'd rather see bite it..

(I wonder if it signed its operator-donor card..)

     Alex Stewart - riche@crl.com - Richelieu @ Diversity University MOO
"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams" -- Willy Wonka