Programming Language Feature Agglomeration

Singer, J. , Cameron, C. and Alexander, M. (2014) Programming Language Feature Agglomeration. In: Workshop on Programming Language Evolution 2014 (PLE14), Uppsala, Sweden, 28 Jul 2014, pp. 11-15. ISBN 9781450328876 (doi: 10.1145/2717124.2717128)

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Feature-creep is a well-known phenomenon in software systems. In this paper, we argue that feature-creep also occurs in the domain of programming languages. Recent languages are more expressive than earlier languages. However recent languages generally extend rather than replace the syntax (sometimes) and semantics (almost always) of earlier languages. We demonstrate this trend of agglomeration in a sequence of languages comprising Pascal, C, Java, and Scala. These are all block-structured Algol-derived languages, with earlier languages providing explicit inspiration for later ones. We present empirical evidence from several language-specific sources, including grammar definitions and canonical manuals. The evidence suggests that there is a trend of increasing complexity in modern languages that have evolved from earlier languages.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Alexander, Professor Marc and Singer, Dr Jeremy and Cameron, Mr Callum
Authors: Singer, J., Cameron, C., and Alexander, M.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors
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