PHP is developed by morons

Well, it's official: the people who develop PHP are morons. Or, rather, the people responsible for adding namespaces to PHP 5.3 are.

Why do I say this? Because I just read an annoucnement on Slashdot that they've decided on the operator to use for separating namespace in PHP 5.3: the backslash (\).

Seriously? The friggin' backslash? What kind of choice is that? Last I knew they'd pretty much decided to go with the double colon (::), like C++, which at least makes sense. But the backslash?

What's worse, just look at the RFC listing the operators they were considering. In addition to the backslash, they had the double star (**), double caret (^^), double percent (%%), a shell prompt (:>), a smiley face (:)), and a triple colon (:::). For God's sake, it looks like they picked this list out of a hat. They might as well have just used the string NAMESPACESEPARATOR. It's no less absurd than any of those.

Now, let's be realistic for a minute. In terms of syntax, PHP is a highly derivative language. It's an amalgamation of Perl, C++, and Java, with a dash of a few other things thrown in.

Given that heritage, there's really only a handful of choices for namespace separators that even make sense. The first, and most natural, is the double colon (::). This is what C++ uses and it's already used for static methods and class members in PHP. So the semantics of this can naturally be extended to the generic "scope resolution operator." Keeps things clean and simple.

The second choice is the dot (.), which is what's used in Java, C#, Python, and many others. This is a bit unnatural in PHP, as dot is the string concatenation operator, but it at least offers consistency with other related languages.

Third is...actually, that's it. There are only 2 valid choices of namespace separator. And the PHP namespace team didn't pick either one. Nice work guys.

The Slashdot article also linked to an interesting consequence of the choice of backslash: it has the potential to mess up referencing classes in strings. So if your class starts with, say, the letter "t" or "n", you're going to have to be very careful about using namespaces in conjunction with functions that accept a class name as a string. Just what we needed. As if PHP isn't messed up enough, now the behaviour of a function is going to depend on the names of your classes and the type of quotes you use.

I guess I'm going to have to bone up on my C#, because PHP seems to be going even farther off the deep end that before. It was always a thrown-together language, but this is just silly. The backslash is just a stupid choice for this operator and there's just no excuse for it.

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