[swift-evolution] Beyond Typewriter-Styled Code in Swift, Adoption of Symbols

Charlie Monroe charlie at charliemonroe.net
Mon Aug 28 23:43:26 CDT 2017

> On Aug 29, 2017, at 4:57 AM, John Pratt via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> I sent a postal envelope to the Swift team with an article I wrote, arguing that
> symbols and graphics would push the programming language forward.
> Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual multiplication matrix broken out into code,
> instead of typing, “matrix()”?  It seems to me Swift has the chance to do that.
> Also: why does "<==" still reside in code as "less than or equal to” when
> there is a unicode equivalent that looks neat?  

Hi John,

while it may be visually appealing, can you imagine typing those in real-life programming? I can't. Reaching for Symbol Viewer each time I need to compare two ints is a bit impractical, don't you think? Yes, on some keyboard layouts (e.g. US), you can use Option-< to type ≤, but in general, this one keyboard layout out of many and also the other symbols suggested (union, etc.) are nowhere to be found on a keyboard.

If you desire them, you can define custom operators, but it's IMHO impractical. It would require a radical redesign of the keyboard - and if you suggest the TouchBar, can you imagine symbols from your Fig. 6 on there and having to browse through them looking for the one you want?

If you want to test using them, you can try this library that defines them: https://github.com/mattt/Euler

> Why can’t the square of x have a superscript of 2 instead of having “pow(x,2)?  
> I think this would make programming much easier to deal with.

Sorry, but I personally think it would make programming slower. Person, who can type with all 10 of his fingers will outpace a person looking for math symbols on a TouchBar any time he need to use "greater than or equal"...

> I expound on this issue in my article:
> http://www.noctivagous.com/nct_graphics_symbols_prglngs_draft2-3-12.pdf <http://www.noctivagous.com/nct_graphics_symbols_prglngs_draft2-3-12.pdf>
> Thank you for reading.
> -John
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