jstrachan | 29 Jan 08:35 2005

Re: [groovy-dev] Diff of Java and Groovy grammars

Marc Hedlund wrote:
> On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, Mike Spille wrote:
>>         - All this work the grammar is doing trying to figure out Groovy
>>is the same work that a human will have to do to understand the language.
> I think this is a great comment.
> You can save time by typing less characters; you can save time by not
> having to look at the manual to figure out how a language feature works.
> Sounds like we're trading one for the other in too many places.

Thats a great point and I totally agree. We do need to be careful about 
too much syntax sugar / brevity making things confusing. For me the main 
value of Groovy is expressiveness & power - not saving keystrokes at all 

Though also its worth saying that a really simple rule for developers to 
understand like

"Groovy doesn't need semicolons, unless you wanna separate multiple 
statements on a single line - otherwise they are silently ignored"

is pretty easy to grok & use - folks do this quite naturally in shell 
scripting, JavaScript, Ruby etc. However this simple change could result 
in a fairly large diff comparing the Groovy grammar to Java.

So it does not imply that because the grammar has lots of changes to it, 
that its gonna be hard to understand. i.e. a larger Antlr file & more 
diffs to the Java grammar do not imply a harder to understand language.

i.e. counting the number of lines of the diff of Groovy v Java is not 
that interesting by itself; its much better to consider the real 
semantic differences in the grammar