Re: Best/Densest languages [was RE: PROGRAMMING: Free Tools]

mjg223 (
Sun, 26 Sep 1999 16:32:50 -0400

> What is currently the densest language (i.e. the fewest
> lines on the part of the programmer, result in the greatest
> amount of work on the part of the machine?) SQL?

Ah ha, Kolmogorov complexity! There's a theorem that states that the amount of code it takes to express an algorithm only varies by a constant across description systems, and the upper bound on that constant is amount of code it takes to simulate system A in system B.

Beware of language debates - there isn't a best one. There are some problems where I wouldn't use anything but C, and some that, if I had to do it in C, step one would be writing a Lisp system.

Beware of new languages - no amount of design and forethought is equivalent to years of real world use. Beware too of productivity studies, for language vendors are subtle and quick to fabricate.

Beware of dense languages - Perl may be fun to write, but have you ever tried to debug someone else's line noise?