[swift-evolution] A concern
spestov at apple.com
Sun Feb 19 21:43:07 CST 2017
> On Feb 19, 2017, at 1:00 AM, Rien via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Hello All,
> Its Sunday, time for some reflection...
> One of the big plusses of Objective-C was that the entire manual was just a few pages long. I have not looked it up, but IIRC the entire manual describing the language was probably less than 50 pages. Much less if you subtract the filler stuff.
If you add the size of the C specification, Objective-C is actually a very large language, with all kinds of quirks and undefined behavior. Most people coming to Objective-C already have some familiarity with C-like languages though, so I think this aspect is forgotten sometimes.
> I have been on this list now for a few weeks, and I see very little push-back on new suggestions. Most of the reactions are positive-constructive. IMO we need more push-back. Without it behemoth status is all but guaranteed.
> I don’t know about the core team, I don’t know about Apple, I don’t know where they want to go.
I think it is good and healthy that all kinds of outlandish ideas get discussed on this list; even if they never end up getting implemented — the discussions further mutual understanding and inspire better ideas in the future. It wouldn’t be productive for us to just unilaterally shut down such discussions.
Remember there’s a long road from “pitching an idea” to “core team accepts a proposal”. The bar for proposals accepted into Swift 4 is considerably higher; think of it as, “without this proposal, the language is fundamentally broken for an important use-case”.
Also I think one important quality of the Swift design is “progressive disclosure”. There are some advanced features, but they are layered on in such a way that one does not need to absorb most of them in order to be productive in the language. They can be learned over time. This is unlike, say, C++, where a lot of complexity has to be understood up-front before you can really write good modern C++.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing if a well-designed language with advanced features and a large standard library has a big manual.
> I just want to make a plea here: Please stop Swift from becoming a behemoth.
As someone who admires small languages like Scheme, Smalltalk, Forth and ML, I can assure you that your point of view has its proponents here ;-) And I think the core team has very good taste when it comes to these things as well.
> I don’t know if the millions (?) of Swift developers not on this list agree with me. I somehow think they do, after all they are not on this list! They are not looking to change Swift...
> Well, I just had to get that off my chest...
> To close this off, I do want to take this opportunity to thank the core team for their work, I truly appreciate it!
> And whatever may come, here is one happy Swift user!
> Best regards,
> Site: http://balancingrock.nl
> Blog: http://swiftrien.blogspot.com
> Github: http://github.com/Balancingrock
> Project: http://swiftfire.nl
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