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May 29, 2009, 9:03 pm
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For several decades I have tried to practice E prime, off and on. When
writing a really formal paper, I usually go to great lengths to write
in E prime, and occasionally I practice E prime in less formal
settings to keep in practice. E prime consists of using a subset of
English without any form of the verb 'to be', promoted by the school
of general semantics, and I find that communicating in this style
enforces particular disciplines that sharpen both thinking and
In Joe Armstrong's book Programming Erlang, page 1, he gives this as a
reason for learning Erlang, "You've heard about "functional
programming" and you're wondering whether the techniques really work."
Later on, on pages 17ff, he discusses Erlang variables that don't vary
and the = operator that doesn't assign. He makes the point throughout
his book that a functional style substantially improves code.
For several years I have attempted to incorporate a more functional
style in everyday programming, much as I have attempted to use E prime
in writing. I've studied the usual suspects, Scheme, Common Lisp,
Erlang, Clojure, and even Perl (under the influence of MJD's Higher
Has anyone tried to discipline his writing with E prime, or (more
likely) his coding in a functional style? Seems to me that both of
these disciplines require a similar amount of effort (which means that
you don't bother for ordinary tasks) but that both return the same
kind of reward.
I've spent most of the day on a new database project (using Perl),
catching up on c.l.p.m., decompressing a bit -- and posting an obvious
OT message to c.l.p.m. for no reason other than ignorance of any more
appropriate group. Forgive me.
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