I found it easy to come back LaTeX after not using it for a while. It has a few quirks, but it’s basically consistent. The LaTeX commands for Greek letters are their names, lower case names for lower case letters, upper case names for upper case letters. The command for a mathematical symbol is usually the name a mathematician would give the symbol. Modes always begin with
begin and end with
Python also has a consistent syntax that make it easier to come back to the language after a break. Someone has said that Python is similar to Perl, except that the word “except” does not appear nearly so often in the Python documentation.
It’s more important that a language be internally consistent than conventional. Each of the languages I mentioned have their peculiarities. Mathematica uses square brackets for function argument arguments. LaTeX uses percent signs for comments. Python uses indention to denote blocks. Each of these take a little getting used to, but each makes sense in its own context.
A special case of consistency is using full names for keywords. Mathematica always spells out words in full. For example, the gamma distribution object is named
GammaDistribution. I don’t mind a little extra typing. I’d rather optimize for recall and readability than minimize keystrokes since I spend more time recalling and reading than typing. (One flaw in LaTeX is that it occasionally uses unnecessary abbreviations. For example,
\infty for infinity. The corresponding Mathematica keyword is