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XL Design Objectives

Some of the key objectives for XL are:

  1. Easy to read. Observations have shown that code is read several times more often than it is written.
  2. Easy to write. Making code easy to read should not come at the expense of the programmers writing it.
  3. Simple. Only what is necessary to achieve the objectives belongs to the language.
  4. Powerful. Programmers need power tools, not gimmicky toys.
  5. Extensible. Programmers, not language designers, know best what tools they need.

The last objective is so important that it gives its name to the language. The philosophy is to build as much as possible using a very small number of rules. The rationale behind this approach is that what we can do, programmers can do. In other words, if it's easy to add a basic construct such as if-then-else to the language, it will also be easy to add more advanced constructs such as tasking or support for SIMD computations.