Succinctness is power in programming languages

Tags: programming

Paul Graham argues that, except in pathological cases, succinctness is so close to power when designing programming languages that they can be used nearly interchangeably. [1]

Graham cites the work of Ulf Wiger [2] who finds that most programmers have a similar line-of-code-per-hour productivity rate; therefore, languages that require fewer lines of code are more effective.

Graham also states that the whole point of higher level languages is to abstract complicated machine instructions into concise statements.


  1. Graham, Paul. “Succinctness Is Power,” May 2002.

  2. Wiger, Ulf. “Four-Fold Increase in Productivity and Quality.” Ericsson Telecom AB, 2001.