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Discussion on: What Makes a DSL Bad? Make, CSS, and how we can do better.

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Max Heiber Author • Edited on

Re what's wrong with CSS: I agree the cascade is the worst part of cascading style sheets, due to the reasons you describe. I think this is related to my idea that the problem is that it doesn't have variables or functions: the cascade is what CSS has instead of functions+variables+data. When writing inline styles in React (for example), one can imitate the cascade selectively using {style1, ...style2}, exactly where one wants, with predictable results.

So no disagreement that SQL is better than CSS. But I still think SQL is bad: when I said no one writes it by hand, I meant that it is usually constructed by code in a host language, which is using things like prepared statements. Some people describe this as writing the SQL by hand, as compared to using an ORM, but I want to point out that the power of variables and functions is coming from the host language. Which is entirely fine. The weird thing is that we're manipulating code as strings, which suggests to me that a better alternative to SQL would be closer to data than code.

This Python/ReQL is easier to manipulate from the host language, safer, and (I expect) easier to learn than the corresponding SQL, as there is no new syntax:


   "user_id": "f62255a8259f",
   "age": 30,
   "name": "Peter"
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INSERT INTO users(user_id,
VALUES ("f62255a8259f",
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