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

Tim Chevalier catamorphism at gmail.com
Mon Nov 11 12:33:15 PST 2013


Hi, Greg --

At this state in Rust's development, we are unlikely to make any major
changes to Rust's syntax. Literally years of effort have gone into
desgining the syntax, and at this point in the language's development,
our focus is on making any non-backwards-compatible changes in
preparation for releasing 1.0.

I encourage you to check out Rust's syntax extension / macro system:

http://static.rust-lang.org/doc/master/tutorial-macros.html

and explore how that can be used to extend the base syntax.

Cheers,
Tim


On Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM, Greg <greg at kinostudios.com> wrote:
> 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/
>
> --
> Please do not email me anything that you are not comfortable also sharing with the NSA.
>
>
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-- 
Tim Chevalier * http://catamorphism.org/ * Often in error, never in doubt
"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."
-- Zora Neale Hurston


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