Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

Just a link to Paul Graham's excellent post on the power of succinctness in programming languages.

Paul Graham: Succinctness is power.

(Found via lemonodor.)

What a fun read. His hypothesis is that succinctness of elements is one of the primary values of a high-level programming language.

Some nuggets:

"What readability-per-line does mean, to the user encountering the language for the first time, is that source code will look unthreatening."

"If you're used to reading novels and newspaper articles, your first experience of reading a math paper can be dismaying...And yet, I am pretty sure that the notation is not the problem, even though it may feel like it is. The math paper is hard to read because the ideas are hard. If you expressed the same ideas in prose (as mathematicians had to do before they evolved succinct notations), they wouldn't be any easier to read, because the paper would grow to the size of a book."

"I'm not proposing this just to make the debate more civilized. I really want to know the answer. When, if ever, is a language too succinct for its own good?"

Also check out his keynote address to the ICAD User's Group conference last month: Revenge of the Nerds.

Posted at June 2, 2002 12:26 PM
Main | continued... >>
"Join the dark side. Go see The Vanishing."