November 30, 2023

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Comical Coder Envisions the Worst Programming Language At any time – The New Stack

7 min read

Developer Mark Rendle argues that those people who are unsuccessful to study from background “are unable to iterate on it and make it worse.”

In a outstanding talk at last year’s NDC meeting in Norway, which has due to the fact long gone viral in the dev neighborhood, this comedic coder introduced himself as a .Web developer who’s labored in program for 30 a long time. “And above that time,” he mentioned, “I’ve labored with some certainly horrific programming languages.”

But then he promised to share with his viewers the really worst options from programming languages “that might in other approaches be extremely really superior and beautifully appropriate.

“And we’re heading to mash them all alongside one another and make the worst programming language that there has at any time been in the complete of record.” at?v=vcFBwt1nu2U

Early on, Rendle turned his attention to Python, which he phone calls “generally incredibly very good and pretty reasonable.” But then he displayed two identical-searching blocks of code, 1 of which throws an error since its whitespace is made up of a combine of tabs and areas. (An annoyance it shares with F#, Haskell, and Occam.)

So Rendle’s language took points even even further: “We’re likely to use two areas for indentation — but if you are indenting by 4 spaces, then you use a tab.

“If you’re indenting by six spaces, then you use a tab and two areas … And so on and so on and so on…”

Rendle’s language also presents its personal variation on line figures: they’re only utilized sporadically, to mark the supposed locations of GOTO statements.

But, in addition, “because I am a big lover of Douglas Adams, line figures have to be a numerous of 42.” (A sizeable amount in Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Tutorial to the Galaxy.”)

And the improves have to occur in an unbroken sequence — so if you afterwards insert a numbered line into your plan, each subsequent numbered line’s price must be amplified by 42 (with the corresponding changes also manufactured in just about every GOTO assertion referencing those people line numbers).

“We’ll promote a refactoring instrument that will do that for you,” Rendle instructed his viewers. “For $20,000.”

Outside of the Pit of Success

Language designers generally converse about platforms built to stimulate thriving coding practices, so even beginners continue to drop into “the pit of achievements.” But Rendle counters that this paradigm “doesn’t audio like any fun at all,” proposing in its place an choice layout paradigm termed “the booby-trapped Aztec temple of are unsuccessful.”

“You must truly feel like Harrison Ford running absent from a giant boulder and then bumping into a bunch of persons pointing arrows at you with a Nazi archaeologist.” out?v=db5rRtOExbA

Thus, accomplishing basic issues must be created “as difficult as we can” — while the far more difficult jobs really should be handed off to the programmer entirely. From PHP, Rendle adopts not just its inconsistent letter instances but also its “pointless variable prefixing.” So as a substitute of necessitating greenback indications in entrance of variables, Rendle’s language will need each variable be preceded by the Euro image. “That has the excess gain that it’s in fact very hard to type on most keyboards….”

“And for string concatenation, we’re heading to use commas somewhat than the moreover image.”

Rendle’s language also features a command which throws a solitary catch-all exception with no even more information. “We’ll go away it up to the programmer to analyze the stack trace and core dump to operate out what it was that in fact went completely wrong.

“That exception is going to be named HALT_AND_Catch_Fire… It’s fundamentally like ‘worry!‘ — but considerably extra spectacular.”

For additional impact, Rendle adopts Ruby’s idiosyncratic unless of course syntax — so a simple command checking for undefined “null” variables results in being significantly a lot more remarkable.


(except if €name != null)

Rendle’s language will also need all programming statements conclusion not with a semicolon, but with the issue mark image from historical Greek. (Which appears similar, but will be treated by Rendle’s language as an fully different character.)

“We’ll sell keyboards with a distinctive key that has a Greek query mark on it,” Rendle instructed his audience. “And we’ll put it appropriate upcoming to the semicolon critical. And you will just have to try to remember which a single of them is which.”

Easy as Pi

As the communicate continued, Rendle’s language grew significantly tricky.

  • A line starting with whitespace is regarded a remark — but only if the amount of spaces divided by two leaves a remainder of just one. As he informed the audience, “So if you start out a line with a tab and a one room, or a tab and 3 areas, or just with seven spaces, then anything just after that is a remark.”
  • The final result of dividing 22 by 7 is the emoji for pie.
  • Exactly where Visual Basic defaults to 16-little bit integers (with a different syntax for 32-bit and 64-bit integers), Rendle’s language just limitations programmers to … 17-bit integers.
  • His language is neither an interpreted script language nor a compiled language, but instead a semi-compiled language like Java that generates its individual intermediate byte code.
  • String-handling is even a lot more bold. As a substitute of utilizing a typical 8-bit character format, Rendle’s language will assist 256-little bit people, a design and style choice that “allows us to have a character for each sub-atomic particle in the photo voltaic program.”

He included, “I’m likely to make a web-site where by you can upload any bloody picture you like, and I’ll give you again the UTF-256 encoding for it, and then you can use it in a string,” he told his audience.

“And then all the programs in the entire world will have to appear to my webserver to obtain the character.”

Mistake Messages from Hell

The converse bundled a several significant thoughts. For case in point, Rendle’s language borrows nothing at all from Rust, “because Rust is quite close to getting the great language.” (As Rendle sees it, even Rust’s error messages are “like a hug from the compiler.”)

“We’re not performing that,” he promised the viewers.  Our error messages are going to be hell!”

For declaring variables, Rendle’s language implements the most troublesome type of typing — neither static nor dynamic, but its have variety of gradual typing (producing use of the type “hints” readily available in Python). Specifically, Rendle’s language features a new style-defining search phrase syntax: isProbablyA.

And in addition, the language does not only form-examining but also grammar-checking, making a compiler error if the keyword seems in entrance of the sort that starts off with a vowel. (For all those instances, Rendle’s language delivers an option keyword, isProbablyAn.) When defining the sort of a multi-variable array, the syntactically-appropriate key phrase adjustments yet all over again, to areProbably.

And for included ambiguity, the compiler mistake is "Invalid continuous.”

The spirit was infectious. The talk finished with Rendle inquiring the viewers for their own peeves about programming languages, prompting just one viewers member to respond, “I despise MATLAB, and it echoes out any line that doesn’t end with a semicolon.”

Rendle hinted that he’ll add it to a long term edition of the language — even though perhaps incorporating a twist exceptional to his very own language. “Or a Greek issue mark,” he mused.

Yet another viewers member has generally hated how a multibranching Change statement calls for just about every branch to end with its individual independent Break assertion — and indicates Rendle also make them obligatory for just about every one particular of his language’s Except statements. And also the conclusion of each and every function.

“I like that,” Rendle suggests, introducing, “You’re a twisted pet.”

Producing Languages Worse

As Rendle’s converse circulated on-line, it provoked discussions about what other horrible characteristics could’ve been bundled.

Rendle says supporters at times even deliver their strategies to him straight. “It’s actually gratifying to get that sort of engagement with this sort of a silly talk,” he posted lately on Twitter.

But it is all meant just for fun. Rendle 1st gave the chat in 2014 — and explained to his 2021 audience he’d been horrified when two viewers customers afterwards really tried out to build GitHub repositories for the language.

His true objective is a mischievous parody of the resources that programmers use each and every day, and the larger quirks in an ecosystem that appears to be to supply perverse incentives and arbitrary rewards. At a single place, Rendle even available his have variation on the aphorism if it ain’t broke, don’t correct it.

“If it is not broke, you should really resolve it right until it breaks. And then run away.”

And then he proudly gave his dazed viewers some advice: “Hire me.”

Mark Rendle demonstrates what a real 'Hello World' program looks like if written in IBM COBOL

Rendle demonstrates what a actual “Hello World” application seems like if written in IBM COBOL

For more about programming languages, check out this the latest New Stack podcast about Java and its long run in a cloud indigenous earth.

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