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Jul 93 Letters
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Dialogue Box

Dialogue Box

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

Thanks for the online support!

I just wanted to tell you how glad I am to be able to download the code for the various articles that I'm interested in. I really wouldn't get nearly as much out of the article reading it as running the code and watching it work.

Thanks very much for getting it online!

- Tyler

[Tyler, I’m glad to hear that you are happy with the new online support. Please remember that this is an experiment for us. It takes a lot of effort on our part. Success depends on the number of people who access the online services to download these files, order subscriptions and partake in the area in general. So tell a friend!

For those of you who want all or most of the files for each issue, or if you don’t have access to the online services, your best solution is still the source code disk subscription. Contact our customer service department for more information. Contact information is on page 2. - Ed.]

In regards to Taligent

Neil, in your May, 1993 issue you said “Taligent, on the other hand, is approaching the problem by creating an object-oriented system from the ground up.”

A better way to say this might be:

“Taligent, on the other hand, will have their version of NeXT-STEP ready in one or a few years.

Why does everybody go for the inexistent solutions when real needs can be met and solved NOW?

- Steven Woolgar

CHUS-FAMUS

Language Wars

In reference to your reply to Dave Mark in May ‘93 issue, I want to applaud your editorial approach to the ‘Computer Language’ wars. You are ‘right on’ when you emphasize that we should focus on the concept of the code rather than the language itself. In other words, how do we develop code that will perform a useful function on the computer.

However, as a person that started computing in the 60’s with FORTRAN and then proceeded on to BASIC, Pascal, Forth, C and now C++, I would like to comment further on Mark’s ‘popularity’ statement concerning C. I agree! If you go into a bookstore (such as Dalton’s), the preponderance of titles are C and C++, with very few Pascal or even BASIC language titles. [Even] Forth has completely disappeared from the shelves. But, I question whether C should be the language choice for everybody. Given such esoterica as:

 (*(void(*)())0)();

from C Traps and Pitfalls by Koening-one would think that, while C is a good language (Forth also) to make the computer do fancy tricks, it is a language that gives the impression that it was designed for the high priests (hackers) of computer science. For myself, a retired engineer, I would choose first FORTRAN, then Pascal or BASIC, for everyday run of the mill programming (not 1 megabyte executables) where individuals have the need for understanding the source code. For a professional career that required the reading and writing code on a sporadic basis, I would find it difficult to be conversant with the ‘C’ language. What concerns me is that in fact ‘C’ will become the only language-schools, business, and the home. And, if this is true, I believe that a lot of folks will be discouraged (deprived) from the joys of computing due to the difficulties mentioned above. We should take a broad view on the possibilities of all computer languages.

Further, on languages, I appreciate Jorg Langowski’s continued interest in Forth. I have both Mach2 and MacForth, so if you do nothing more that will keep us up to date on what’s happening in the Forth world, this information (like the recent comments on Mops) will be welcome.

Finally, for all this, I enjoy Dave Mark’s books and columns.

- Charles Hussey

Colville, Washington

[Yes! C is number one in support. Yes! not everyone should use C. Yes! everyone should learn a little about the popular languages - at least to the extent that they can read the code.

In other words, I agree! - Ed.]

 
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