Re: Characters used in programming languages (was: Re: Word, Asian characters, ...)

From: From Net Link (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 16:42:01 EDT

On Mon, 7 May 2001 11:35:40 EDT, wrote:

#In a message dated 2001-05-07 6:55:01 Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
#> Current programming languages (C++ and others) have violated
#> what I consider good language design by overloading the same
#> glyphs for totally different uses.
#> The most obvious is <> for brackets and operators!
#C++ was developed in the early 1980s, and was based on C, which in turn was
#developed around 1970. At this time, it had only been a few years since
#7-bit ASCII had been invented, let alone standardized. C was one of the
#first languages to take full, or nearly full, advantage of 7-bit ASCII.
#In subsequent years, continued limitations in ASCII conformance forced C to
#add the trigraph hack, in which sequences beginning with "??" replaced some
#of the less frequently available ASCII characters. For example, "??<" and
#"??>" stood for the curly brackets { and }, and "??'" stood for ^. Trigraphs
#are still supported in the most modern C and C++ compilers, regardless of the
#platform's character set support, and you have to backslash-escape one of the
#question marks in a literal string that contains "??" if you don't want any
Yes, I know why it is the mess it is.

#Any programming language that wants to avail itself of the rich set of
#punctuation, brackets, and other symbols found in Unicode must have at least
#the following features:
#1. Commonly used symbols *must* be directly available on virtually all
#Latin-script keyboards, not just by typing convoluted dead-key or
We need more shift and shift lock keys so that more than ASCII
can be done from a keyboard. Typing /U#### is also not acceptable.
My program editor already uses Ctrl-Shift, Alt-Shift and Ctrl-Alt to get
more key combinations on all the other keys but using two shift keys is awkward for
anything used frequently.
We need Unicode keyboards.

#2. Symbols must be easy to distinguish from each other, not just in a
#professionally designed font but in ordinary handwriting, to prevent

Anything is better than looking at a < and asking,
Is this a less than or is this an open template bracket.

#-Doug Ewell
# Fullerton, California

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