Subject: Re: becoming a better programmer
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 17 Sep 2002 15:20:35 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c++,comp.lang.lisp,,comp.lang.perl.misc
Message-ID: <>

* Pascal Costanza <>
| ...but you could also argue that HTML is a language that instructs a computer
| to generate a certain kind of output on screen.

  I believe the interesting difference is between languages that instruct a
  very general-purpose engine to do specific things for which it was explicitly
  designed or intended in the concrete sense on the one hand, and on the other
  languages that are mere input languages to specialized applications that
  affect how it does its one task, but cannot change that task in any useful
  way.  That is, HTML is a data language, while JavaScript is a programming

| The reason for this is that there is no sharp boundary between programming
| languages and "non-programming" languages

  Of course there is.  It is not clear a priori, however, in which category
  every language would fall.  There is a difference between fuzzy categories
  and things that do not fall neatly into only one of them.

| Someone who implements a parser generator doesn't see any real difference
| between HTML and "real" programming languages

  That is obviously because he deals with the syntax of the languages, not
  their semantics.  Just as one who implements a file transfer protocol does
  not see any real difference between HTML files and images.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.