Posted on February 19, 2013

Talking to my brother the last few days made me realize that he doesn’t realize that all of the languages that he is learning in school all use the same programming paradigms, and are even derivatives of one another. Now, some of this isn’t bad, in order to program a game on the Xbox you need to know how to program in C#, and if you already know C++ it is very easy to make the transition between the two (some people may even make simple mistakes because of this).

In fact, it is rather trivial to make the transition between any of the C-based languages because they share much syntax and style in the manner of how you solve a problem. The point i was (and frankly still am) trying to make is that different languages allow you to think about problems in different ways. While all (useful) languages are Turing Complete using something like Malbolge is probably going to get you nowhere if you want something useful. Yes it is Turing Complete, but programming in it is so hard that solving problems in it is a challenge in and of itself. This is where I encountered my first problem.

My brother is going to one of the best schools for programming in New York (or so he says its one of the best schools). I was talking to him about Object Oriented Programming which is what (most) of todays popular languages use as it’s main paradigm. For some strange reason, he didn’t know what Object Oriented design & programming was. The only distinction he makes between languages is whether it’s a scripting language or a compiled language… which has no bearing on the way you solve programs in it. Haskell can be run either compiled or as a script, so is it a scripting language, or a compiled language? What matters more is how do you think in that language, how do you solve problems?

(Quick note: apparently there are C scripting environments where you feed in your source code & it runs it like a script!!! They even have a REPL interpreter!!!! OH NO!!! C IS A SCRIPTING LANGUAGE!!! HOW HORRIBLE!!!! The delinquent parties: Ch and CINT)

In languages such as C, C++, C#, Objective-C, Java, Perl, Ruby, Python, PHP and Go, you solve problems in very similar ways. In fact, I’ve written a program to translate a number of Python examples to Ruby in Shogun (it was once in the Shogun repo, it’s in the history somewhere… and looking at it, it’s an okay example of an object oriented program.) That’s not to say that they are all the same language, just there are a lot of similarities in the languages. All (except C) are object oriented languages, and all have similar syntax, for instance:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7  // C #include int main(int argc, char *argv[]) { printf("Hello, world!\n"); return 0; }
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  // C++ #include using namespace std; int main() { cout << "Hello, world!" << endl; return 0; }
 1 2 3 4 5 6  // Go import "fmt" func main() { fmt.Println("Hello, World!") }
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  // C# using System; class Program { public static void Main() { Console.WriteLine("Hello, world!"); Console.ReadKey(true); } }
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  // Objective C #import int main(void) { printf("Hello, world!\n"); return 0; }
 1 2 3 4  // scala object HelloWorld extends App { println("Hello, world!") }

Unfortunately, just looking at “Hello World” examples isn’t going to get us very far in showing us how to program in said language take Malbolge for instance:

('&%:9]!~}|z2Vxwv-,POqponl$Hjig%eB@@>}=<M:9wv6WsU2T|nm-,jcL(I&%$#"
CB]V?Tx<uVtTRpo3NlF.Jh++FdbCBA@?]!~|4XzyTT43Qsqq(Lnmkj"Fhg${z@> That is “Hello World” in Malbolge, how does it work? Read the Wikipedia article cause I can’t explain it. Anyway, that’s not the point! The point is programming pradigms, and that’s what I’m going to show you! (-ish) There is an awesome website: 99-bottles-of-beer.net which has thousands of examples of code for the song, 99 bottles of beer! Which is a more challenging project (and one I can sensibly put here) So without further ado, the code: Here is a C version done by Dustshine  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27  #include int main(void) { int b; for (b = 99; b >= 0; b--) { switch (b) { case 0: printf("No more bottles of beer on the wall, no more bottles of beer.\n"); printf("Go to the store and buy some more, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.\n"); break; case 1: printf("1 bottle of beer on the wall, 1 bottle of beer.\n"); printf("Take one down and pass it around, no more bottles of beer on the wall\n"); break; default: printf("%d bottles of beer on the wall, %d bottles of beer.\n", b, b); printf("Take one down and pass it around, %d %s of beer on the wall.\n" ,b - 1 ,((b - 1) > 1)? "bottles" : "bottle"); break; } } return 0; } This is done in an imperative style. First you have the declarations, then the function int main(void) and next, you declare an int named b which, when we enter into the for loop, decreases from 99 to 0. Inside that, we have a switch statement that looks at b and decides which version of the lyrics we shall output. While this isn’t a horrible way to program, it’s very verbose, and quite inflexible. if you wanted to change it from, say, beer to Nuka Cola, well, you’d have to change it in 9 separate places. And yes, while refactoring you can make it more streamlined and whatnot, but this would be a typical implementation for most people. (Unless you want to be spiffy and make a Linux kernel driver) Next on our list, is Object Oriented, the most common today! This is done in C++ by Tim Robinson  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46  // C++ version of 99 Bottles of Beer, object oriented paradigm // programmer: Tim Robinson timtroyr@ionet.net // with some edits by serialhex to make it work with g++ #include using namespace std; enum Bottle { BeerBottle }; class Shelf { unsigned BottlesLeft; public: Shelf( unsigned bottlesbought ) : BottlesLeft( bottlesbought ) {} void TakeOneDown() { if (!BottlesLeft) throw BeerBottle; BottlesLeft--; } operator int () { return BottlesLeft; } }; int main( ) { Shelf Beer(99); try { for (;;) { const char *plural = (int)Beer !=1 ? "s" : ""; cout << (int)Beer << " bottle" << plural << " of beer on the wall," << endl; cout << (int)Beer << " bottle" << plural << " of beer," << endl; Beer.TakeOneDown(); cout << "Take one down, pass it around," << endl; plural = (int)Beer !=1 ? "s":""; cout << (int)Beer << " bottle" << plural << " of beer on the wall." << endl; } } catch ( Bottle ) { cout << "Go to the store and buy some more," << endl; cout << "99 bottles of beer on the wall." << endl; } return 0; } Of course, the imports are first, then sets up the enum Bottle collection. Next, he sets up our Shelf class, a class being the basis of objects in most object oriented languages (put another way: each object has one or more classes). Then he defines some public functions for us to use: Shelf, is the constructor, it is the function that is called when we make our object, and it takes an integer, (and unsigned integer to be exact) as the number of BottlesLeft; then we have our TakeOneDown function; which throws a BeerBottle exception if BottlesLeft is ever False or 0 (because in C, C++ and a bunch of other languages 0 in an if statement is the same as False in an if statement) and decrements BottlesLeft. The rest of the code is imperative-style with a for-loop within a try-catch block. It’s more total LOC than the purely-imperative style, but the advantage is you can use the Shelf class anywhere (theoretically) and if you want to add functionality, you just have to add it to that class, or change how many bottles are on the shelf. (and technically, the output of the program is incorrect… but we’ll be okay) Now Haskell, one of my favorite languages! This is actually a variation on the one labeled Using guards on the 99 bottles site (I’m doing a little bit of refactoring to make the code a bit cleaner IMO)  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26  --Version of http://99-bottles-of-beer.net/language-haskell-1070.html --using guards. -- some edits by serialhex, to make it look & work a bit spiffier import Data.Char bottles :: Int -> String bottles n |n == 0 = "no more bottles" |n == 1 = "1 bottle" |n > 1 = show n ++ " bottles" verse :: Int -> String verse n = capitalizeStr$ h ++ t where h = bottles n ++ " of beer on the wall, " ++ bottles n ++ " of beer.\n" t = case n of 0 -> "Go to the store and buy some more, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.\n" otherwise -> "Take one down and pass it around, " ++ bottles (n-1) ++ " of beer on the wall.\n\n" main = putStr $concat$ map verse [99,98..0] capitalizeStr :: String -> String capitalizeStr [] = [] capitalizeStr (x:xs) = [toUpper x] ++ xs

And a brief description, because that’s all it needs. First, import Data.Char, because we’ll need it later, then define out bottles function. While this may look like an overloaded function I’m just going to say: it’s not; but either way, it defines the behavior of what to do when we have n bottles (whether bottles be positive or negative, but having negative bottles of beer is more sad than no bottles of beer, so we shan’t think of that). Then, we have another function whose first line is strange:

verse n = capitalizeStr $h ++ t I’ve got a function I don’t define until later & two variables that come from where? Well lets go backwards to figure this out… • First I’ve got t which only appears in the where block underneath. What does it do? It takes the variable n that got passed to verse and outputs the proper response based on how many bottles of beer we have. • Next we have the ++ operator, which is just list concatenation. • Then h which simply interpolates the value we get from our bottles function. • The $ is kind of “group everything after this in a set of parenthesis” which is real useful & makes code look nicer, so \$ h ++ t is pretty much just syntactic sugar for (h ++ t)
• Lastly, capitalizeStr which is a function that is defined at the bottom of the code, out of the way. It does what it says, it capitalizes a String.

Last, but most importantly, we have our main function, which puts it all together! First (going from right-to-left) we have map, which takes a function, and a list, and outputs a list (of Strings in this case). That list of stings gets concatenated, and finally, the whole thing is printed to the console! What is nice about the functional style of things is I simply told it what to do, not always how to do it. Of course there is always some amount of tell the computer how to do things, but in a functional language there is a lot less of it.

These are just a few examples of programming paradigms one can use. If you want to learn more I suggest reading the Wikipedia article for more information & links to some specifics. Learning about different paradigms will make you a better programmer, even if you don’t ever use a logic or functional programming language, because you can use those styles - where appropriate - and make your programs better, and more robust. This includes using an object system in a functional language if that will work better…

Now, just to twist your mind, go check out the Malbolge solution: http://www.99-bottles-of-beer.net/language-malbolge-995.html