New private names proposal

Mark S. Miller erights at
Wed Dec 22 23:34:47 PST 2010

I would like to encourage everyone to stop arguing about whether my old
syntax at <>
was or was not a faithful adaptation of the old names syntax at <>. Names has moved
beyond that old syntax and I am now concerned with the new one. My apologies
for not updating my old page since then.

At the top of <> I show
a soft fields desugaring for the currently proposed names syntax. Because []
is problematic for the reasons Dave and Brendan have explained, I delay the
discussion of [] till  <>,
where it parallels the discussion of [] in the private names proposal.
There, I examine that issue a bit, mentioning that we could use the "kludge"
on my earlier page, but also showing alternatives that some here will find
less satisfying. Be sure to read to the bottom of that section.

In any case, I'd like to withdraw my unqualified use of "orthogonal" on this
thread, lest it be misunderstood as a claim that the syntax issues for
private names and for soft fields are precisely identical. Please everyone,
read the page where I go through parallel examples. I discuss some pros and
cons each way as I go. I wrote this listings of differences before this
thread started. I stand by my overall sense that the syntactic issues are
still independent enough from the semantics that, with minor adjustments,
any viable syntax proposal could be applied to either semantics. I still
think the syntax and semantics at stake here are best discussed as separate
questions, unless of course one of these non-orthogonalities actually turns
out to be important.

I would also like to encourage the continued exploration of alternative
syntaxes, such as the sigil and @ approaches previously mentioned.

Brendan, I still do not understand why you think it is illegitimate to
consider private names and soft fields as alternatives. Do you really think
we should provide syntactic support for both?

    --Dr. Freeze
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