new Smalltalk programmer's thoughts

Wolfgang Helbig helbig at Lehre.BA-Stuttgart.DE
Mon May 1 12:02:19 UTC 2006

Hi Hans-Martin,
you posed the question
>The question is: do we want to let hardware characteristics dominate our 
>way of thinking?

And the answer is no!
And I deeply appreciate Smalltalk for the #// and #\\ operators, for Integers
that are unlimeted, and for things like garbage collection that no real machine 
can achieve! Smalltalk leverages on being run by a virtual machine. And it does 
very well so. Furthermore, it lets you adopt things to your likes much easier 
than any other language I know. (I don't know Lisp) So, in this respect, I 
couldn't agree more with you.

>collection, I want the first at index 1 and the fifth at index 5. When 
>I'm using Integers, I don't want to think about 16 vs 32 bits, signed vs 
>unsigned etc.
>The argument about loop bounds is somewhat related. I've seen quite some 
>beginner's C code which did "for (i=0; i<=10; i++)" to address a 
>10-element array :-) Seasoned C programmers don't do that anymore, but 
>it tells me a bit about what is "natural" :-)

And that is my point: Different challenges need different numbers for the first 
index. When I am implementing a Gaussian algorithm to invert matrices, I'd never
use 0 as the first index. But whenever I am computing indexes, I'd never use
one as the first index. And this is not supported by BASIC and Smalltalk.


Weniger, aber besser.

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