First, let's return to Daring Fireball. John Gruber recently wrote that
AppleScript, as a programming language, is a noble but failed experiment.To support this, he links to an earlier article, The English-Likeness Monster, in part of which he makes the far more modest claim that AppleScript's English-like syntax is a failed experiment.
Well, which is it? Languages are more than their syntax. Reading the article doesn't clarify much. Gruber details how a bug he experienced was caused by a subtle name conflict in scripting dictionary terminology. He gives a cogent description of the semantics of name resolution in AppleScript, showing how the name resolution semantics leads to the bug he experienced. However, buried within is a lengthy rant on AppleScript's syntax. It looks like, and is identified as, a digression (well, it is called an "interpolation"—Gruber is a David Foster Wallace fan, as I recall), but gives the post its title. Just what is the intent?
Nothing in the article depends in any way on the syntax of AppleScript, but look through the responses! Several people bring up AppleScript syntax, both as a positive and as a negative. Once the issue of syntax appears, the discussion pretty much stays there. It's a shame, because I think that Jalkut's point was an interesting one, and really does warrant some thought.