is Ben Rudgers

Remarks: Epigram 3

This is part of a writing exercise around Alan Perlis‘s Epigrams in Programming.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon.

Better start like Rich Hickey with a definition. In this case from Wikipedia:

syntactic sugar is syntax within a programming language that is designed to make things easier to read or to express. It makes the language “sweeter” for humans to use: things can be expressed more clearly, more concisely, or in an alternative style that some may prefer…it can be removed from the language without any effect on what the language can do: functionality and expressive power will remain the same.

There are two ways I can go with this.

  1. Perl’esque concision can make a significant fraction of a program consist of semicolons, that is it becomes enlarged.
  2. The ultimate syntactic sugar accessible by Lisp Macros means that the diseased semicolon has been removed.