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Re: OT: functional languages (was: Politics of Java)

On Fri, 13 Dec 2002, Deryk Barker wrote:

> Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 20:40:29 -0800
> From: Deryk Barker <dbarker@turing.cs.camosun.bc.ca>
> To: Debian Users <debian-user@lists.debian.org>
> Subject: Re: OT: functional languages (was: Politics of Java)
> Resent-Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 23:01:34 -0600 (CST)
> Resent-From: debian-user@lists.debian.org
> Thus spake Craig Dickson (crdic@pacbell.net):
> > Pete Harlan wrote:
> I'd certainly want to call it functional and would go further and say
> that LISP is also an impure functional language. PH's dikat is IMHO a
> little too rigid. What about Milner's SML, which also supports
> side-effects. That is invariably, in my experience, referred to as a
> functional language.
> The importance of LISP, Scheme, ML, Miranda, et. al. is surely the
> establishing of a functional programming *style*, which these
> languages encourage (to a greater or lesser extent).
> After all, you *can* do FP in C or Pascal - it's just a lot more work.

Pascal and C do not have functions as first class citizens, but Pascal
closer than C. In Pascal, but not C, you can pass a function as a function
parameter, but you can't return a function from a function in either
language. Consquently you cannot do any of the nice self extensions that
having functions as first class citizens provides. C and Pascal do not
have continuations. I've not done anything with continuations yet, so I
cannot talk about that beyond noting the fact.

Further comments anyone?

David Teague

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