firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael L. Siemon) writes:
> Sorry, but that does not follow. Bijections are all very well (hey, I'm
> a topologist by training :-)), but human predispositions are relevant
> here, and most people are more intuitively at home with "reading" a
> string "1.0 + 3" as a sequence of characters than, e.g., processing a
> text into a Goedel enumeration, (or more directly to the point, going
> the other way, from the integer to the text.)
> Simplicity and uniformity *are* relevant. One might argue that it matters
> not *what* primitive representation is used, but I would laugh at anyone
> who seriously thought that non-string representations were "simpler" than
> Try representing the _Iliad_ as either an integer or a list. Just try;
> I want to see what kind of idiocies you will commit. That it is possible
> I willingly acknowledge; that it is sane, I seriously doubt.
Goodness me, The Iliad! As in Homer?
Ok, let's talk about that, but I pick Aristotle instead :-).
Now Aristotle wrote in Greek, the characters of which you cannot
represent in an ascii string.
I don't subscribe to the "everything is a ...." theory. Sure it's nice
to be able to deal with different types in the same way, but that's
what *polymorphism* is for. Oh sorry, JO don't like OO.
I can see no advantage whatsover in making everything fit in a string
(or a list or a bignum). Take lists for example. A properly designed
OO library would allow you to traverse a string or list or array
without knowing what the underlying type is.
> Humans reading strings which *happen* to contain conventional represent-
> ations of numbers are happy to make mental conversions. The converse is
> *not* true -- "reading" an arbitrary integer as (by some abstruse mapping)
> a text string is utterly weird and non-standard. It is quite hopeless for
> documentation, for training, and for maintenance. And in case you were a
> bit out of it, LANGUAGE is what humans ordinarily use in communication.
> It is human readers (and writers) who matter, when we are talking about
While Lisp does not store numbers as strings, I never know or care
that this is the case. In fact I could write a Lisp implementation
that does store numbers as strings, and a programmer using it would be
none the wiser (apart from awful performance of course). Why do you
want to fit everything in a string?? It buys you NOTHING.