Fat Dactyls

If you make a language and are lucky, someone else will write code for it. If you are very lucky, someone else will find uses for it you never intended, or that even challenge the premise of the language.

This is not the same as using the language in an unexpected way. Urban Müller could not have foreseen brainfuck as the bedrock for a Rust-like language or a CPU. But do these projects truly counter brainfuck's premise? I would argue not. Brainfuck appears chaotic but part of its appeal has always been in conquering that chaos, in building efficient algorithms using the language despite the challenge. These projects counter the chaos of brainfuck, but that really is the appeal of brainfuck in the first place, they are simply taking it much further than could have been anticipated. If Müller had wanted brainfuck to be impossible to master, he would have designed the language much differently.

Sometimes, however, a language inspires work that falls very far from the intent of its original designer. Most esolangs, like mainstream programming languages, are open systems and don't dictate how programmers use them. C# offers many features to make structured code easy. But I can also write C# that looks like 80s BASIC wrapped in some standard C# boilerplate:

Read More

This entry originally appeared at esoteric.codes/blog/fat-dactyls, and may be a summary or abridged version.