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Language designer's notebook: Quantitative language design
For any given programming language, there is no shortage of new feature ideas. Language designers must not only perform the difficult task of deciding which of many possible (and often incompatible) language features should receive priority, but they also must consider that new language features can interact with existing ones in surprising, and sometimes incompatible, ways. Language evolution often requires making a trade-off between the benefits of enabling desirable new patterns of coding and the costs of potentially breaking some existing "weird" code. In this situation, being able to quantify -- using real-world data -- just how unusual that "weird" code is can provide valuable clues to which way a decision should go.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 12 Apr 2010
Language designer's notebook: Package deals
When a significant new feature is added to a language, it is quite common that the new feature necessitates, or at least encourages, the addition of other new features as well -- for better or worse. In this installment of Language designer's notebook, Brian Goetz discusses how language features invite their friends with them.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 25 Oct 2011
Language designer's notebook: First, do no harm
While some proposed language features are simply a solution in search of a problem, most have their roots in real-world situations in which the existing features do not enable programmers to express what they want to say as easily, clearly, succinctly, or safely as they'd like. Although having a use case in mind -- "this feature enables me to write this code that I want to be able to write" -- is good, language designers also need to evaluate language features in light of the bad code they might also enable.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 19 Jul 2011
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