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At, an old drinking song that printed out by an award-winning piece of code obfuscation cited in a Wikipedia article at, inspired a comparison of programs written in various languages to print this song. The Cobol (and to a lesser extent C#) programs were easy to understand whereas other languages such as J*** were not. There was even a highly obfuscated one in JavaScript!

At there is a very useful article on readability of langiages. Have a look at the 99 bottles of bear site and see how easy (or otherwise) various languages are to read.


Posted on Monday, September 5, 2011 10:18 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: 99 Bottles of Beer!

# re: 99 Bottles of Beer!
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one of the mistakes the blog article you links to makes is that the goal is NOT to make computer languages english. It doesn't have to be read by people who don't understand the language.

This is almost as arrogant as going to a foreign country and expecting them to speak english :-)

The idea is we create languages that we can learn and understand that let us easily express computable concepts. Half a second thinking about that, you realise english really is a bad choices for that.

Trick is getting languages that lend themselves well to writing concepts and then also, when looking at the written code, being able to understand the concept being expressed by that code.
Left by Keith Nicholas on Sep 06, 2011 10:46 PM

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