Subject: Re: Representing code as XML: the Flare Programming Language
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 21:17:13 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (Levi Conley)
> Getting to the point of this post, in my web wanderings I also came
> across a proposal for a new language project (open source) that seemed
> to be quite promising.  I'm just wondering if anyone with a lot more
> language experience than myself has evaluated this language yet, and
> has opinions, etc.  Here is the link:
> The statement that most intrigued me went something like this: "XML is
> to Flare what linked lists are to Lisp."  I'm still not sure what all
> that would imply, but it sure sounds interesting.  What I really want
> to know is if Flare, as initially proposed, seems to be capable of
> making some AI task much easier than Lisp.

  There is a simple and elegant answer to this question: Just learn Common
  Lisp well first.  New languages are exciting to people who know mostly
  new languages, so learn an old language before you learn new ones and get
  out of the maelstrom that will drown you in ever new languages that add
  nothing at all except some miniscule additional feature from another
  language that someone needed to make a whole new language to implement
  because he did not know (Common) Lisp to begin with.  A "new" language
  that differs from the rest of the crop by one or a couple features is
  proof positive that both what it came from and what it has become are
  mutations about to die.  There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of
  such "languages" that people have invented over the yeare, for all sorts
  of weird purposes where they just could not use whatever language they
  were already using, could not extend it, and could not fathom how to
  modify its tools without making a whole new language.  They never stopped
  to think about how horribly wasteful this is, they just went on to create
  yet another language called Dodo, the Titanic, Edsel, Kyoto-agreement...

  John Foderaro has been credited with this profound statement about the
  nature of Lisp:

        Lisp is a programmable programming language.

  People who have not programmed in (Common) Lisp do not understand what
  this means because they are used to programming tools that build a Berlin
  wall between the language and the user.  This, ironically, is a manifest
  feature of XML -- the language in which there are containers for data,
  but where the writing on the outside of the container is in a different
  language than the contents.  This applies to attributes in elements, to
  the XML declarations, to the Schema thing, to the parent language SGML.
  All of these languages scream at the user: "The language you users should
  use is not good enough for us language developers!"

  Simply put, Lisp _is_ good enough for both language developer and user.

  If you really want to produce XML that can be used by this Flare thing,
  use (Common) Lisp instead of FlareSpeak to write it originally, once you
  learn (Common) Lisp.  Then, if Flare is really worth looking into once it
  matures for a few years, you will have done both communities a favor.
  And if Flare fizzles, you will at least not have wasted your time.