Yes, I'm aware of that limitation.  I have the feeling however that
IDEs and debuggers are overrated.  Sure, when dealing with a complex
program in a complex language (say, tens of thousands of lines in C++),
then sure, IDEs and debuggers are a must.  But I'm not sure their
absence outweigh the simplicity potentially achieved with POLs. (I
mean, I really don't know.  It could even be domain-dependent.)

I agree however that having both (POLs + tools) would be much better,
and is definitely worth pursuing.  I'll think about it.


Alan Kay wrote:
With regard to your last point -- making POLs -- I don't think we are
there yet. It is most definitely a lot easier to make really powerful
POLs fairly quickly than it used to be, but we still don't have a nice
methodology and tools to automatically supply the IDE, debuggers, etc.
that need to be there for industrial-strength use.



    *From:* Loup Vaillant <>
    *Sent:* Wednesday, February 29, 2012 1:27 AM
    *Subject:* Re: [fonc] Error trying to compile COLA

    Alan Kay wrote:
     > Hi Loup
     > Very good question -- and tell your Boss he should support you!

    Cool, thank you for your support.

     > […] One general argument is
     > that "non-machine-code" languages are POLs of a weak sort, but
    are more
     > effective than writing machine code for most problems. (This was
     > controversial 50 years ago -- and lots of bosses forbade using any
     > higher level language.)

    I didn't thought about this historical perspective. I'll keep that in
    mind, thanks.

     > Companies (and programmers within) are rarely rewarded for saving
     > over the real lifetime of a piece of software […]

    I think my company is. We make custom software, and most of the time
    also get to maintain it. Of course, we charge for both. So, when we
    manage to keep the maintenance cheap (less bugs, simpler code…), we win.

    However, we barely acknowledge it: much code I see is a technical debt
    waiting to be paid, because the original implementer wasn't given the
    time to do even a simple cleanup.

     > An argument that resonates with some bosses is the "debuggable
     > requirements/specifications -> ship the prototype and improve it"
     > benefits show up early on.

    But of course. I should have thought about it, thanks.

     > […] one of the most important POLs to be worked on are
     > the ones that are for making POLs quickly.

    This why I am totally thrilled by Ometa and Maru. I use them to point
    out that programming languages can be much cheaper to implement than
    most think they are. It is difficult however to get past the idea that
    implementing a language (even a small, specialized one) is by default a
    huge undertaking.

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