Dialect (computing)

A dialect of a programming language is a (relatively small) variation or extension of the language that does not change its intrinsic nature. With languages such as Scheme and Forth, standards may be considered insufficient, inadequate or even illegitimate by implementors, so often they will deviate from the standard, making a new dialect. In other cases, a dialect is created for use in a domain-specific language, often a subset. In the Lisp world, most languages that use basic S-expression syntax and Lisp-like semantics are considered Lisp dialects, even though they vary wildly, as do, say, Bigloo Scheme and newLISP. As it is common for one language to have several dialects, it can become quite difficult for an inexperienced programmer to find the right documentation. The BASIC programming language has many dialects.

The explosion of Forth dialects led to the saying "If you've seen one Forth... you've seen one Forth."

See also



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