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Re: Language vs. Library

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg61108] Re: [mg61054] Language vs. Library
  • From: "David Annetts" <davidannetts at>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 02:40:10 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Hi Steve, 

> If we look at compiled and byte compiled languages such as 
> C,C++,Java, C#, etc., we see they typically consist of a core 
> language, and standard libraries.  In C, and C++ the 
> demarcation is very clear. I know I've asked a similar 
> question in the past, but it's something that recures to me 
> every time I start working with Mathematica.  Is there a core 
> Mathematica language?  If so, what does it consist of?

What does it matter?

In any case, I'd take the "core" language as "any function in any context
that is available when you first start the program after it is first
installed".  Others may well have another definition.  

Like most languages though, much of the power comes when external functions,
either in standard or user-supplied packages (libraries, etc,.) are used.
In a sense, the language is more like Fortran than C/C++, since there is a
lot that is available without loading anything.  C/C++ programs which don't
use external functionstend to be very limited and most (or all) programs
written using this language tend to use a combination of external functions
from the standard and purpose-written libraries.

However, for questions like this, definitions of "core" don't really matter
since some of the standard libraries (eg Graphics`) tend to be used almost
as defaults.  Once again, what does it actually matter?



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