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MIT OCW - Intro to Comp Sci and Programming


I've begun self-studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT using their OpenCourseWare system.  The first class has this to say about itself:

This course is aimed at students with little or no prior programming experience [...] — if you have a lot of prior programming experience, we really don't want you wasting your time [...]

I almost fell for that, but I figured that I'd really like to gain a Computer Science background so I peeked at the topics to be covered.  There's a lot for me to learn and I began tonight and came up with my first question:




An hour ago I'd have said that this was a syntax error, but now I'm not so sure.  Syntactically, this is "something divided by something", which seems reasonable.  The "static semantics" are all wrong because 3/'abc' doesn't mean any real thing.  Amirite?


PS - if you're interested:

You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. ~ Alice
For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur? Eccl. 8:7

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Personally, I think that people tend to focus too much on what they call things. While it's important to have a shared vocabulary for clear communication, the important thing is to understand the actual meaning of the thing you're talking about and now how you call it.


In any case, I don't think that LV really has syntax in the sense that other languages have it. Syntax errors are generally considered things like "you forgot a semicolon or you didn't place commas between the arguments correctly",meaning "you failed to put in an element I need in order to parse the code meaningfully". I can't think of a real equivalent in LV, as objects in LV already drop with all their necessary parts and things like what you show or like a for loop with no indexing inputs are treated as compile errors.


Like I said, I don't think the term "syntax" is really relevant unless you're directly comparing LV to a text based language, where you can tell someone "LV doesn't really have syntax in the same way that C does".

Try to take over the world!
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