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Re: Emacs history, and "Is Emacs difficult to learn?"

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: Emacs history, and "Is Emacs difficult to learn?"
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 20:11:21 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.4 (gnu/linux)

Rustom Mody <> writes:

> In the same vein CSists emphasise algorithms too much over data.

I agree that the focus on algorithms is uncalled for, but what do
you mean by "data"?

> From the typical academic viewpoint: Elisp is just a lisp with
> some additional features suitable for editor-writing.

Yes, and isn't that correct?

> From a data viewpoint: Elisp is more different from vanilla lisp
> than lisp is from C, given its primitive data-structures like
> buffer, window etc.

I don't know what "Vanilla Lisp" is but I did Common Lisp and
Elisp, and they were virtually identical to me until I learned
some of the fine tunings of Elisp, which all related to the
specific domain, that is Emacs.

But I don't think Lisp (in general, Elisp/CL/etc.) is that far
from C. Or, it depends how you use them. The way I use them, they
are close.

> Anyone who knows the goings-on of the typical academic setup
> will know that the first view has more traction there than the
> second.

Again, I don't understand the "data" viewpoint. Data structures
and algorithms are the same, or very close, in my mind. Lots of
algorithms don't even work - and how could they? - if not for a
specific data structure. (Is this what you mean by "data"?)

> And thence follows the reduced respectability of VB, Cobol, sql,
> spreadsheets as compared to 'serious' languages like C/C++.

SQL is respected. There is nothing wrong with VB, or VBA, as
*languages* (they are just BASIC offshots like all the others),
the problem are those disgusting IDEs, and especially the MS
Access database wizards. From a theory standpoint, they are the
opposite of MVC. From an emotional standpoint, they make me want
to puke. I don't know anything about Cobol. C is highly respect in
theory and practice, perhaps because of Unix, perhaps because it
is so cool. C++ is far from as stable/gentlemanly as C, but it
works, and is fast, with development, and with execution. It is
the language that the man on the street *still* is (by far) most
likely to associate with programming.

Note that there is no "C/C++". Those are two different languages,
with different tools, and with different libraries.

Emanuel Berg - programmer (hire me! CV below)
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