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Expunge "use English" from Perl? (was Re: Perl6Storm: Intent to RFC #0101)

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Nathan Wiger
September 27, 2000 16:39
Expunge "use English" from Perl? (was Re: Perl6Storm: Intent to RFC #0101)
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Russ Allbery wrote:
> I've found the use of use English in code I had to maintain to be annoying
> and unhelpful, and to actually degrade the maintainability of the code
> I've yet to understand why I'd *want* to use English regularly; so far as
> I can tell, it has essentially no benefit in the long term. 
> I know it's not the only stance to take, but I prefer to try to make my
> Perl code very readable by people who know Perl, and encourage people who
> don't know Perl who are trying to read my code to learn Perl first, or at
> the same time. 
> use English doesn't really address the syntactical points of Perl that
> make it hard to read for someone who doesn't know Perl; it strikes me, and
> always has struck me, as a bad partial solution to a problem that may not
> need to be solved and that only makes things more complicated in the long
> run.

Y'know, I couldn't have said this better myself. :-) I've always felt
that "use English" was a waste of time and effort, a bandaid trying to
act as a tourniquet. Using Randal's code:

   /foo/ && print while <>;

Note that "use English" here does nothing to improve the horribly
unreadable - yet beautifully succinct and flexible - syntax that is

My personal feeling is that I'd love "use English" to be expunged from
the language altogether - it's unnecessary bloat that only increases the
number of mistakes that people can make. But I'm not sure if I have the
guts to write that RFC just yet. ;-)


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