I don’t like that they call it “the first speakable programing language” because this is basically a derivative of AppleScript, which in turn I think borrows from HyperTalk. They even tagged the repo with #apple-script!
I do think it’s interesting that it’s designed to be written by speech recognition. There’s other interesting methods you could use to achieve the same result but this looks like one of the more accessible ones in terms of stuff you have to learn if you were to start writing code by voice.
Yes, the mandate for AppleScript was that it be based on HyperTalk. (I worked on it, though not on the syntax.)
The problem with “English-like” languages I’ve seen is that they’re still based on a fairly rigid grammar, while natural language is much more flexible and tolerant of ambiguity or mistakes. So AppleScript ended up a sort of “read-only” language: it reads pretty clearly, but to write it you have to follow the one way it expects a statement to be phrased. To me it felt harder to remember that than a typical programming syntax, a sort of uncanny-valley effect.
That’s been roughly my experience writing a little here and there.
I have wondered if part of the problem is just that I don’t use it often enough for its grammar to stick, but I’m inclined to take your sense that it is more fundamental, since I imagine you were reading and writing it regularly.
What do you make of an approach like at story.ai where the language doesn’t really need to follow a strict grammar since it’s semi-structural?
I’m unfamiliar with it … from a glance at the home page, it’s unclear what the language is like. But I think something less rigid would be great, as long as there are good ways to resolve things the parser can’t make out. Perhaps by asking questions, like “by ‘it’, did you mean … or …?”, then updating the source code to incorporate the clarification.
Reminds me of http://inform7.com/