Why Conniving is Better than Planning

Unknown author (1972-02-01)

A higher level language derives its great power form the fact that it tends to impose structure on the problem solving behavior for the user. Besides providing a library of useful subroutines with a uniform calling sequence, the author of a higher level language imposes his theory of problem solving on the user. By choosing what primitive data structures, control structures, and operators he presents to the user, he makes the implementation of some algorithms more difficult than others, thus discouraging some techniques and encouraging others. So, to be "good", a higher level language must not only simplify the job of programming, by providing features which package programming structures commonly found in the domain for which the language was designed, it must also do its best to discourage the use of structures which lead to "bad" algorithms.