[Haskell] Beyond ASCII only editors for Haskell
Jesper Louis Andersen
jlouis at mongers.org
Sun May 22 15:07:37 EDT 2005
Mads Lindstrøm wrote:
> But if I were to specify a program (in a non-executable language) or if
> I were to write some function on a blackboard, I would not be restricted
> to only ASCII characters. For example, I would not write 'sqrt 2' but I
> would write a square root symbol with 2 underneath. Likewise, I would
> not write '2 ^ 5', but I would write a 2 with a 5 raised upwards to the
> right of the 2. Then why are we stuck with the mono-spatial ASCII based
> editors in Haskell? Why is it not possible to make Haskell program look
> similar to ordinary math? (also when writing those programs and not just
> afterward in some Latex formatted paper).
While the idea is intriguing, it has actually been done. Look up APL as
a language. Once, there were special terminals, able to enter
APL-specific symbols only used in APL. You might be lucky your local
computer museum has one (I cannot frankly remember if they have one in
ASCII has the advantage of being de-facto. UTF-8 might change that, as
might XML, but I am not sure if this is an advantage at all. Apart from
mathematical conciseness and reabability, nothing is gained by the
change. On the contrary, you have limited yourself to a small number of
editors which are able to read your program, unless you translate down
to an ASCII variant.
I do not think one can learn from APL. The world is much changed today.
However, programming in diagrams and the like sounds awfully like
CASE-tools of the start of the nineties - which did not prevail either.
It might be the world is ready for another attempt with XML+UTF-8 though.
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