[REBOL] Re: Correct Behaviour? Was False = 2 ????
From: jeff:rebol at: 5-Jul-2001 9:13
> But the simplest test of usability is to show anyone (with
> no prejudicial prompting, of course) an ordered collection
> of items and simply ask, "Which is the first?" They will
> likely not find that a challenging question...
But they will apparently find it challenging if asked "which
is the zeroth?"
> I'm simply not interested in defining that term at all.
Why? Why is it so hard to locate zeroth in your simpler
system? It seems like zeroth would be a great word for zero
based index systems, and yet you want to pretend it's not
there, sweep it under the carpet. Tsk tsk.
Where is zeroth? We have to conclude one of two (zero of
one) things, in our zero indexed system:
1. zeroth position == first position
2. zeroth position comes before the first position.
Easy enough right? The zeroth (first) proposition above is
the only one that can be right while maintaining the
definition of FIRST that you've made. So ZEROTH is FIRST,
FIRST is ZEROTH. This is what makes zero based indexing so
much more understandable!! The general ease for people to
understand the concept of ZEROTH is concomitant with the
ease of understanding zero based indexing. No need to hide
our good and well suited word.
> We've already covered this. The ancient greeks also didn't
> consider "one" a true number. Most people of the middle
> ages still believed that the sun revolved around the
> earth. . .
The argument is simply that zero based is less intuitive,
not that people are incapable of groking it. People are
capable of groking base 64, but few people, that I know of,
balance their checkbooks in base 64.
We commonly start numbering things by one. We teach our
children to spread out their fingers and say "one two
three.." Or do you teach children to say "zero one two.. "
ending on finger nine?
David Letterman counts down from 10 to 1 not 9 to 0, NASA
does the same. Cars have gears starting with 1 through 4 or
5, not starting with gear zero. It's only some groups of
programmers that think it natural to number things starting
from zero. The rest of the world orders things starting
Zero based indexing can only be justified based on what it
gives you in terms of programming convenience. It can not
be justified in terms of common usage. You have to weigh
the utility of zero-based indexing against the relatively
low "portability" of the concept.
So how are we going to reindex date! values?:
** Syntax Error: Invalid date -- 0-0-0
** Near: (line 1) 0-0-0
Oh come on, REBOL, don't complain about this invalid date!
Why it's the zeroth (first) day, month, and year! Isn't that
FOURTH of July, 2001, which would be:
Clearly 3-6-2000 is the fourth day, the 7th month and
the 2001st year (when we start from zero).
Hey, since we're breaking all existing REBOL scripts in the
interests of doing things "the right way", why not change the
direction of evaluation? Left to right only makes sense in
the western world. RIGHT TO LEFT is MUCH MUCH SIMPLER! Right
to left is the "RIGHT WAY"!!
[[item "Look at this!-->"] print][items of list] item foreach
And, how about argument position? Surely it makes more
mathematical sense to have the thing to operate with, followed
by the thing to operate on, YES?
blk: copy 
pick 0 skip -1 insert 0-0-0 blk
Much clearer. Especially when we put it the "RIGHT" direction.
 copy blk:
blk 0-0-0 insert -1 skip 0 pick
Perhaps all statements should be parenthesized. REBOL's free
format leads to tremendous ambiguity by offering
familiar-looking text which is actually used in inconsistent
and highly subtle/complex ways. Arity can become
unclear. People should KNOW that they're really programming
when they program, so we need parenthesis.
( copy blk:)
(((blk 0-0-0 insert) -1 skip) 0 pick)
In fact, this whole concept of words is a little fishy. A
given word may evaluate to who knows what. Very tricky,
subtle/complex. Perhaps we should not allow people to
directly use words but they'll call functions to get and put
values based on a name.
( copy "BLK" SET-NAME-VALUE)
(((("BLK" GET-NAME-VALUE) 0-0-0 insert) -1 skip) 0 pick)
I think it's obvious that if REBOL was like the above it would
be cleaner, clearer, and more consistent. (:
REBOL's getting easier to understand each day! Take the frog
pills and seek the zeroth--