Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Language design criticism = art criticism (?)

A comment by Sean McDirmid on LtU is spinning off into a nice PL design discussion:
We should only critique designs like we critique art, I like this and I don't like that, made from the perspective of another person's tastes. C++ is an example of a language that has a controversial rather than poor design, some people find it ugly while others find it beautiful. A good design is simply a language designed by a good designer, and it might not suit your tastes but you should appreciate it for what it is, right?

I got into some arguments recently over Scala. That I was critical of Scala and compared it to C++ led someone to think I was a Scala hater, while nothing could be farther from the truth. People tend to get very emotional about their languages (or paradigm) of choice. A good discussion involves acknowledging our biases and being objective about our and others' opinions.


hxa said...

"I say, your language is deeply resonant with the virtues of Duchamp's Fountain."

Anonymous said...

We did art critiques in art school. It was generally "this part works well", "this part can be improved in this way" and "this part doesn't work". It was very similar to how we critique any other human artifact. Perspective and tastes had nothing to do with it.