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On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 03:45 Enrico Colombini <> wrote:
On 17-Mar-17 09:20, Dirk Laurie wrote:
> The main selling point of Basic was that its interpreter was small
> enough to fit into an 8K ROM.

Another point, not often considered, was its conceptual simplicity:
anybody could understand how to use it, so anybodyd did.

Other languages offer more power at the price of either complexity of
technical details (e.g. the C family) or deeper conceptual thinking
(e.g. the Lisp family, including Lua) and they have libraries to be
studied. They tend to be hard to master for non-technical people.

Lua makes a great effort to be simple on the surface (and it easily
beats most other languages here), but making full use of its non-trivial
power requires structured thinking.

I may have the particular scientist mixed up, but I believe it was Robert Hooke[1] who I am thinking of... He made illustrations of insects that were so striking in their accuracy and detail, that anyone who saw them would cry out with praise. 

Hooke would not receive this well. He was frustrated by their crudeness compared to the nature they were attempting to capture. His complaint was that when you peered more closely at his drawings, they became corse and ugly --- rough ink strokes on fiber that only revealed the limitations of the artist and the medium. 

By contrast, when a microscope was applied to nature, fractal beauty and complexity was revealed.

Systems built on simple constructs have that feature. I'm not quite suggesting that Lua is on par with the natural beauty that life brings. But I am saying that insofar as a computer language can be in possession of that quality, it does.

On the surface, it is simple and you can interact with it without much further appreciation. The closer you study it and the deeper your understanding of it becomes, the more complex it becomes, even as you begin to understand that it is even simpler than you once appreciated. 

This is why, even though I have not had the good fortune to program in quite some time, I still follow this list. I appreciate Lua as something uniquely artful amongst the technological works that I've studied. 


[1] it would be poetic if I miss-applied credit to Robert Hooke, given his treatment by history.