[rust-dev] Please simplify the syntax for Great Justice

Greg greg at kinostudios.com
Mon Nov 11 12:27:39 PST 2013


Dear Mozilla, rust devs, and memory-safe enthusiasts everywhere,

I'm very happy with the safety improvements that Rust brings.

This is true innovation.

At the same time, I am disappointed and quite concerned about Rust's unimaginative syntax.

It seems to preserve decades of poor decision-making from C++.

The FAQ states: "The syntax is still evolving"

I hope this is still true today. Syntax plays a significant role in safety:

1. Simple syntax makes software easier to write.
2. Simple syntax makes software easier to understand.
3. Simple syntax makes inserting a backdoor into an open source project more difficult.
4. Simple syntax leads to fewer mistakes.

Were I to have written Rust, I would have modeled its syntax after Clojure/Lisp/Scheme instead of C++ [1]. By this point, I'm aware that this is unlikely to happen.

However, I would like to ask the Rust architects to seriously consider this issue, and ask themselves what syntax they can remove from the language while maintaining type-safety.

Removing syntax should not raise any fears that the language will lose any features or flexibility.

To the contrary, a simpler syntax will likely lead to increased flexibility and possibilities. Lisp has demonstrated unequivocally.

"Typed Clojure" may provide the authors with needed inspiration:

https://github.com/clojure/core.typed/wiki
https://s3.amazonaws.com/github/downloads/frenchy64/papers/ambrose-honours.pdf

Kind regards,
Greg

[1] https://www.taoeffect.com/blog/2010/01/how-newlisp-took-my-breath-and-syntax-away/

--
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