Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'd agree that Python and OCaml are analytic. But personally I find Java much more "continental" than C++, in that it combines aesthetics and function in a way that is both time-tested/consistent and expressive. C++ has always felt like a programming language designed with the same philosophy in mind that Frankenstein had when creating his monster.

Comparing C++ to Frankenstein is a bit of a dis-service to the time spent developing this language.

There's some bad innards from C compatibility, but that's only a small sliver of the overall language. The language overall is very big, but has a high level of consistency and.... dare I say orthogonality.

The open-ness of the language at the outset, especially around the breadth of available overloading, means that future improvements can work in an extremely wide space. It's one of the few languages that stays true to the "every type is a class, no type is special" philosophy.

It's powerful stuff and gives you more control than you can find almost anywhere else, especially with the more modern improvements that pull in a lot of goodies from other languages.

I'd say the biggest wart is the compiler-linking process... the fact that the preprocessor is still a thing is rough.

C++ is configurable in all the wrong ways. Its orthogonality is only with respect to a C-oriented perspective on the world; it doesn't have a philosophy, so much as "like C but let me customize most of the underlying operations". That it is usable at all is mostly down to enormous amounts of effort and careful selection of idioms. Writing C++ reminds me a bit of playing chess: if you're deep in the idiom, there are only a handful of moves to consider, but if you're out of it, there are so many mistakes you can make.

I like the "pit of success" analogy. In design (whether it's API or language, or even physical mechanisms), doing the right thing should be the easiest way to go. C++ has a narrow ridge of success, with cliffs not far from either side.

A more orthogonal, more powerful and even more controllable language, to me, would be some variant of Scheme or Lisp that let you produce fully typed ASTs or even target code for the places where you need absolute control over performance, but high level enough to focus on the business domain problems most of the time. C++ demonstrably simply can't climb very far in the abstraction stack; people don't write web apps in C++. That's the metric that matters in the end.

> Comparing C++ to Frankenstein is a bit of a dis-service to the time spent developing this language.

Bolting more bits onto Frankenstein wouldn't make him less of a monster.

Hm. I tend to think more in terms of how using the language makes me feel than in terms of what the language design reminds me of.

I see what you mean, though.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact