The Icon Programming Language

Griswold, Madge T.; Griswold, Ralph E.
ISBN 0134478894
Date finished: 2002-08-12

A reasonably good introduction to Icon from the language's designers. Icon is noteworthy because it takes the idea of generators and uses it as a primary concept; every expression is a generator capable of producing multiple values or reporting failure, and the language will backtrack when an expression fails. I wonder what Icon's authors originally intended the language to be used for, as this book doesn't make that clear at all. Icon is obviously well-suited for writing parsers and similar string-chopping programs, and the backtracking evaluation would make it straightforward to write goal-searching programs, but there's no mention of OS interfaces other than opening files. The language itself is rather compact, using single-character operators a lot, so ?L returns a random object from the list L, and *L is the length of the list. The language seems moribund these days, and it's probably not much of a loss, because except for generators it's a fairly unremarkable scripting language, but it would be nice to see a modern language with the same backtracking capability.

Tagged: programming languages

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2002/08/Icon_Programming_Language.html

%T  The Icon Programming Language
%@  2002-08-12
%A  Griswold, Ralph E. 
%A  Griswold, Madge T.
%G  ISBN 0134478894
%K  programming languages

http://books.amk.ca

Contact me