March 29, 2005

English to Code

Computer scientists are MIT have put together a prototype tool to convert system requirements written in natural English into skeleton code. I hope they keep this going, because this will have to end the stupidness of considering code as a special sort of description, whereas the same description in a natural language is something different. Both in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of people who don't understand what a programming language really is.

Programming languages are not something special or different. They're the same as any other language, although more strictly defined and with a limited ability for expression. But the same thing applies to so-called natural languages. From what my Mom has told me, you cannot express gender of a person when speaking. And tense also cannot be conveyed. I've also been told Inuktitut has the ability to express hundreds of subtleties for snow, which English cannot. Japanese also has different speaking modes depending on the amount of respect you are supposed to convey to the listener. And also different words for saying thank you or for apologizing, depending on the situation.

Extending differences like that to programming languages is not a very big leap.

Posted by josuah at March 29, 2005 5:47 PM UTC+00:00

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