Re: Languages (was Re: Forms support in clients)

Steven D. Majewski (
Thu, 29 Sep 1994 19:25:49 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, 29 Sep 1994, Daniel W. Connolly wrote:

> In message <>, Nathaniel Borenstein writes:
> >Excerpts from www-talk: 29-Sep-94 Re: Languages (was Re: Form.. "Steven
> >D. Majewski"@vir (3804*)
> >
> >> If we knew more exactly about what we
> >> wanted to do, we could come up with a non-procedural description.
> >> ( Which is clearly the safe-est representation of all! )
> >
> >Well, I really have to disagree with this one point. The whole point of
> >extension languages, to my mind, is dealing with the unanticipated.
> Be very careful before you make this leap. I've been dealing with
> document formats for years, and if there's one thing I've learned,
> it's that making documents into programs is fraught with peril.


I may have forgotten to credit you, but your "On Formally Unconvertable
Document Formats",[1] as well as other discussions re: markup vs.
presentation, were in mind when I was questioning procedural
representation. Especially your remarks about finding the third word
in a TeX document.

I don't (in some contexts) want a piece of code that opens a window and
prints a message asking me a question, etc. because, if I want to handle
this by an automated process, instead of interactively, I have
non-marked-up text to scan ( a program source ) to try to figure out what
it is doing. *If* the language can be constrained to higher level
functions that are trivially decipherable, then I suspect whatever it
does can be represented non-procedurally.

[1] <>

-- Steve Majewski (804-982-0831) <sdm7g@Virginia.EDU> --
-- UVA Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics --
-- Box 449 Health Science Center Charlottesville,VA 22908 --
[ "Cheese is more macho?" ]