On Wed, Aug 28, 2019, 11:43 PM Sage Gerard <s...@sagegerard.com> wrote:

>
> Maybe I'm overthinking this. I already know that nothing in #lang racket
> is getting thrown out or anything.



Yes, it is. #lang racket uses parenthesized S-expressions and prefix
notation such that operator precedence is not relevant and each expression
is a clearly self-contained entity that's easy to manipulate, since it's
essentially identical to its own parse tree.  #lang racket2 will be
non-parenthesized infix notation, probably with whitespace-significance.
Operator precedence will matter, it will be easy to accidentally move only
part of an expression/form, and the parse tree will be entirely different
from the user-level code.

I just feel like I am getting mixed messages about why this is all
> happening.
>

I've heard two explanations thus far. The first is that parentheses and
prefix notation are hard for students to grok and (by implication) Racket
uptake will increase if it moves to a more Python/Java/C-like syntax. I
think I may at some point have suggested that I have reservations about
this idea, but I acknowledge that the core developers are more skilled at
CS than I am and that they have more experience teaching and therefore a
larger dataset about what people find difficult to learn.

The other explanation I've heard is that Racket is due for a serious
overhaul and there's a lot of very powerful stuff that could be done if
backwards compatibility could be sacrificed. I think this is almost
certainly true, although there are certainly challenges.

So far as I'm aware, there isn't a clear statement of whether the primary
intent is to gain new users or to increase power for existing users, eg by
making the latest CS research available to the masses and fixing warts in
the existing language, etc. There's definitely tension between those goals.


One other issue that hasn't been discussed that I've seen is whether #lang
racket2 is intended for beginners or experienced developers. Everyone
starts off as a beginner but they don't stay beginners for long. (Unless
they stop programming completely, in which case there's no point in
factoring them into language design issues.) To me this suggests that it
would be possible to aim racket2 at experienced developers and use the
simpler teaching languages as a way of easing people into the ideas --
which, as I understand it, is what they're intended for and used for right
now.

Making syntax more similar to other languages is useful for Racket
beginners and will provide easier skill transference. Whether it's better
for experienced developers is an open question. Again, the core devs have
larger datasets than I do, although I will note that those datasets are
almost entirely compared of novices.


> -slg
>
>
>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> On Aug 28, 2019, 11:23 PM, George Neuner < gneun...@comcast.net> wrote:
>
>
>
> On 8/28/2019 10:56 PM, Sage Gerard wrote:
> > #lang new-coke
> >
> > -slg
>
> "New Coke" was horrible ... tasted like the bastard child of Pepsi and
> Dr. Pepper.
>
> And no matter what they claim, "Classic Coke" never was (and still
> isn't) the same as the original.  Classic Coke hit shelves a mere 3
> months after the original was discontinued.  I had cases of original
> stockpiled and was able to do side by side comparison.  Classic tasted
> like original diluted with extra water.  Probably it was deliberately
> diluted to enhance profit and they hoped no one would notice.
>
> YMMV,
> George
>
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