2010-12-24

Pet Peeve: People who use Math Notation to explain Programming.

Sure, I get that many programming things have a mathematical backing underlying their working. But do we have to have Math notation that only MathGeeks understand? Especially on Wikipedia?

I mean, there's a mathematical equation ( or equations ) backing you walking to the shop, but to explain walking to the shop I really really do not want to have to take several university papers to get there.

What practical purpose could there be to using it on Wikipedia?

Its not at all immediately accessible to anyone who is a programmer trying to understand the programming concept explained

Its even less accessible to anyone who is neither a programmer or a math-geek, and face it, they're the majority of the people out there.

I'd love to understand Canonincal LR Parsers, but the whole concept flys right out the window within 3 lines of that page at that lovely asinine:

 [ A → B • C, a ]

Sure, I probably learnt that syntax at some stage aeons ago, but gosh, I don't have a clue what it means now, nor is there any way for me to know what that is even talking about in order to search for it

Ironically, theres another little problem which makes using math notation completely pointless, is there's many operations that are simply impractical to use math-notation for, and people resort to using programming notation:

action[k, b] = "shift m"

and that, just makes matters worse, because that notation seems completely incoherent with the rest of it.

So is it stupid?

... or is it just me

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