re: Should programming languages be made for IDEs rather than humans? VIEW POST


Have you tried LabView?

Arent some parts of MATLAB supposed to help with this sort of thing (I'm not experienced with MATLAB, it's an assumption based on what I've heard about it).

But.... LabView is awful, if you need to refactor it's very difficult. If you need to debug, forget it. Plain text code is easy and perfect for standard software development, for scientific development (i.e. mathematics, grahpics) which involves complex equatics I would expect there are libraries which allow you to express math formula as plain code?

Why would you want to use spaces in variable names?

Why is snake Vs camel case a problem?

If you have a variable which holds the value for P(a|b), then use a creative name, which is what that value represents (I dont know what that expression is) so assume its something like ambient_pressure (I don't care how its value is calculated, the name is descriptive of what it is.....

A huge problem in code which I deal with on a daily basis is reading stuff like this(python syntax):


I mean, what the hell is that? No comments, nothing, and the guy who wrote it left the company!!! I have to now go search where it's used and try to interpret its use to understand this functions purpose.... So it turns out it means:
Convert compensation voltage to derived dispersion field

So the name is totally rubbish. Naming stuff is one of the hardest things in writing software because it describes what you are doing. When you look at some complex equation you will "read" it, so text should also be able to be used to describe it.


I've used matlab a little bit. I might have missed something but I think it made the problem worse by just turning everything into non-standard operators to stay within the ascii characters and monospace/text format.

LabView I know nothing about.

Why would you want to use spaces in variable names?

Why is snake Vs camel case a problem?

Because we create variable names composed of multiple words. fooBar is less readable than foo_bar is less readable than foo-bar is less readable than foo bar. Spaces are also easiest to write. The reasons not to use spaces is that it conflicts with syntax. Also some gestalt principles (characters of a variable are close together), but there's other options for that.

If you have a variable which holds the value for P(a|b), [...]

P(a|b) is a mathematical notation for "probability of a being true given that b is true". That's a lot of words to write out. This was a real-world problem I've had, especially because I also needed P(a|¬b) and many similar variables. The resulting code was unreadable using full-length variable names.
The meaning of P(a|b) is well understood by people who have a minimal background in Bayesian statistics. So, essentially, it is the right name.

More generally speaking though, because variable names are styling for humans, you could have multiple names for the same variable and use whatever suits you most in a certain situation, e.g. short or long. Although both at the same time sounds like a very bad idea :-P.


In terms of readability using camel vs snake I have to disagree as I've never had an issue reading either syntax, but everyone is different, so for you it's a fair point.

The point you make about naming variables is very true; it's very difficult to map mathematical names to human readable without being obtrusively long. So again, I guess if you do a lot of it being able to use reserved chars in a variable name could be useful...

Thanks for explaining what P(a|b) is, I've never come across that before :)

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