The Tragedy of the Common Lisp, or, Why Large Languages Explode (was: revive let blocks)

Benjamin Gruenbaum benjamingr at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 17:26:57 UTC 2015


First of all, brilliant post Mark.

> As a community, we need more of a shared sense of panic about the size
that ES6 has already grown to. Ideally, that panic should increase, not
decrease, with further growth from here as our size approaches the point of
no return.

As a community, we do - if you look at HackerNews or Reddit or
StackOverflow people are constantly hating on JS getting larger. Features
like classes and `let` are very often criticised and often languages that
did not add these features and are considered 'well designed' are given in
comparison (Python's lack of block scoping for instance).

This is a mailing list comprised of people who typically have a much better
understanding of the language and its corners than most (even professional)
developers have (and dare I say, are interested in or care about having).
With ES6 the language already got a *lot* bigger and I'd argue that it's
now harder to learn the whole. The tradeoffs were worthwhile but it's
definitely an issue.

It's easy to forget here what traps the average user might fall into, and
it's easy to forget what they care about and what confuses them.

Fwiw, there are examples of big languages that are well liked, the
"canonical" example of a big but very well liked (and well designed imho)
language is C#. It has a lot of cruft now (delegates and events, array
covariance etc) but it is still a very well liked language in general.
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