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Re: Programming Languages, "to C or not to C, that is the Q."



On Sat, 22 Jan 2005 16:55:02 -0500, Scotty Fitzgerald
<sfitz007@bestweb.net> wrote:
> I notice two basic interpreters under woody.  Why no compiler?!

I think most people view BASIC as more of a "toy" language than a
serious one.  On Windows, VB gave you easy access to graphical
widgets, so its simplicity was appealing for simple programming.

> I also notice that many of the "Wirth Bondage and Dominance"
> languages (pascal, modula, oberon) have a program that "converts
> to C" and then I guess you would compile the c program.  Why
> is this?  I am guessing it has to do with porting (like, take
> your C output and you can compile it for mac or windows or something._
> Any other reasons?

C compilers have been a lot easier to get on many platforms than other
languages.  Especially when you don't have root on a system, you have
to work with what's available.  Incidentally, the Gnu Compiler
Collection (GCC) has a pascal compiler called gpc.

>         How readable are these "whatever to C" program's
>         output?!  Can you see the subroutines in there, know
>         what they are in relation to what you wrote in, say,
>         pascal, and maybe tweak it in C?  (I am waiting for
>         my library to ILL a book for me, "C as a second lang.
>         for Pascal users.  Catchy title, huh?!

Any conversion from one language to another is likely going to
generate output that's pretty unreadable.  You *might* be able to
parse through it, but it'll be a bit on the painful side, most likely.

> C does interest me, though for some reason object oriented
> does not sound appealing ot me.  However, I hear of it as
> something that is not a true HLL.  I hear it is more like
> a "universal assembler" of sorts.  I love being able to do
> structured programming and I think I am better off with a true
> HLL, am I wrong?!

First, C isn't object-oriented.  C++ is, sort of, and is essentially a
superset of C (and my language of choice).  Whether C is high-level or
not depends on what you consider high-level.  It's not *that* much
different from pascal, though there are substantial differences in
syntax.  It's also easier to shoot yourself in the foot in C.  I had
relatively little trouble moving from pascal to C, aside from some
confusion with parentheses.

C has structures and functions, just like pascal.  You can get into
coding closer to the bare metal, but you can also build very
structured high-level programs.  Another benefit of C is that there
are a *lot* of utility libraries available, though this is becoming
increasingly true of other languages, especially the scripting
languages like perl and python.

-- 
Michael A. Marsh
http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~mmarsh



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