>From your citation (which I reprint below), it appears you believe
I am the one who said, "If one had to choose ..." I didn't. Someone
else wrote that. In fact, I'm not sure I've even seen that text, much
less written it, so perhaps it occurred on some newsgroup I don't read.
I am the one who invoked Perlis, as you correctly cite further on.
(Perlis was my advisor in college, so I am apt to so at the drop of a hat.)
Just to clarify any confusion, I personally think strings are a lousy
univeral representation for data. Same goes for integers, or even, for
that matter, lambdas. Languages like tcl that only give you one basic data
structure are, in my opinion, pretty lousy languages.
This is a little subtle, so stick with me here, but my preference is
to use lambdas to represent procedures, strings to represent character
sequences, and integers to represent, uh, integers. Call me old-fashioned.
From: Michel de Groot <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Strings as a uniform representation & tcl
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 12:00:45 +0200
Organization: University of Twente
References: <5ihaol$n3g@Masala.CC.UH.EDU> <5ilnmp$rg9@engnews2.Eng.Sun.COM>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
X-Server-Date: 23 May 1997 10:00:44 GMT
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (X11; I; HP-UX B.10.10 9000/730)
Xref: senator-bedfellow.mit.edu comp.lang.scheme:20407
comp.lang.scheme.scsh:972 comp.lang.lisp:27466 comp.lang.tcl:67081
comp.lang.functional:9448 comp.lang.c++:262581 comp.lang.perl.misc:75452
Olin Shivers wrote:
> > If one had to choose a single type for everything, a string is a
> > pretty good choice. Why not a number? How would you represent a
> > string with a number?
Like a computer does: using a bit string. Much more efficient than a
ascii string anyway (which ofcourse is a bit string, I know).
Michel de Groot
> Perlis, as usual, summed it up well in one of his aphorisms:
> The string is a stark data structure, and everywhere it
> occurs there is much hiding of information.
> This is what is wrong with both Unix and tcl. Their power is also a great
> weakness: they are designed around a "least common denominator"
> representation, strings. What it buys you is that everything interoperates.
> The above aphorism explains what it costs you.