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Types and programming languages

Typed program consists of expressions and types. Types are assigned to (or better say “declared for”) expressions by programmer. Programming language has means of declaring basic expressions and constructing complex expressions from parts. Each facility for constructing expressions has a corresponding way of constructing a type of compound expression. Sometimes an attempt to construct a type will produce an error, saying that types of subexpressions are incompatible this way. For example, a facility of function application will produce a type error if first argument is not a function. If a constructed type doesn’t match the type declared by programmer, it is another case of typing error. This is a one side of a types: they are abstract and they provide a way to check a structure of a program.
There is another side of types: they are sets of values. Of course, each value can belong to any number of sets. For example, 5 is a natural, integer and real. So, by looking at the value you cannot say it’s type, since it has many. However, values constitute a special kind of expressions: a trivial expression. It is called trivial because it is trivial to evaluate. So, the phrase “value ‘5’ has a type ‘Integer'” should mean that “I’m talking about trivial expression ‘5’ with type ‘Integer'”. This side of types helps us to predict the set of all possible results of our programs, and also helps runtime system to allocate enough space to store any possible value belonging to the set.

Categories: Technology
  1. May 17, 2017 at 9:09 am

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