[710] in Coldmud discussion meeting

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daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Tue Mar 14 17:30:26 1995 )

From: crag@serial.MIT.EDU (Robert de Forest )
To: coldstuff@MIT.EDU
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 16:16:59 -0600 (CST)

Sorry about the serial.YOUR.SITE.HERE, I'm not root on serial, but I'll pass
 on the problem to someone who is...or he'll see me mention it here since he's
 on the list.

I don't intend to release a ColdMUD with an assignment expression. Brandon
 will be releasing my change to his ColdX server. Based on these grounds I
 think arguments based on 'C-- should be like C' are moot...or something. I
 don't think we should restrict ourselves this way.

A language 'Joule' I read about (which has no implementation yet, as far as
 I know) deals exclusively in messages. Assignment doesn't exist in any way
 except to direct the out port of a message tube to a new object (called
 'servers' in Joule). That is, a = b is a -> b in Joule because -> is a message
 a recognizes as 'Point Yourself At' and b is the server passed as an argument.
 -> is a single charachter in Joule, btw.

The point is, there is no assignment operator at all in this new language. Of
 course, time will tell whether this is a good thing or not, but let's not do
 things just because it's familiar. Let's do things because they suit our
 needs. Does a = 1 mean anythng at all without some context? No. We are
 deciding the context now and we are debating how we want assignment to look.

A lot of what I'm saying may seem obvious or pointless but I want to stress the
 idea that we get to choose every detail of the changes we make ourselves. We
 should make the decisions based on goals and needs rather than history.

Some of you will say we _need_ to stay compatible to make the transition from
 other languages as smooth as possible for new programmers. I totally agree. I
 also feel there are enough differences already to make changes like this not
 so crucial. On top of that, people will be coming to ColdX from languages
 other than MOO, C, and Pascal, and I suspect a large portion will come with no

All this rambling is to add weight to my assertion that '<-' is the best
 best operator to use for assignment in the ColdX server. Its meaning agrees
 fairly well with its visual structure. It does not in any way appear to be
 a comparison. It suggests modification (through motion).

I address the drawbacks as follows:

"It's too different" - ColdX itself is very different. To keep '=' or change to
  ':=' might suggest more similarity than is actually there (to whatever
 language people come from).

"It doesn't flow from my fingers" - It will after a few months.

"It doesn't even have an = in it" - This is a drawback? :)

I can't remember the others.

Oh well, ramble on...
Crag / Robert de Forest