[OT] We need a language

Jeff Cutsinger seaslug@tunes.org
Fri May 30 08:53:02 2003

Alaric B Snell <alaric@alaric-snell.com> said:

> James Michael DuPont wrote:
> > "True greatness is measured by how much freedom you give to others, not
> > by how much you can coerce others to do what you want. "
> > Larry Wall "Perl, the first postmodern computer language"
> > http://www.wall.org/~larry/pm.html

This doesn't change the fact that perl sucks :P

> Now, I see a lot of fighting between the strict typing people and the 
> non-strict typing people; it's part of a large battle between "rigorous 
> careful engineering" and "throw it together". This battle has come up in 
> debates about schema languages on xml-dev, and in things like the 
> Extreme Programming movement.

I don't see why we can't have both. For example, on the static vs. dynamic
typing argument, we could have the implementation attempt to infer type, but
if it failed, output a warning and dynamically check types; an option to
enforce (even explicit!) static typing could be available.

Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses- the obvious is that the
"artistic" tack allows more creativity and flexibility, and is therefore
infinitely superior for prototyping. However, I think it's even a good idea to
(given a sufficiently development environment) to start a project in this
"artistic" method, and perhaps as more requirements/uses surface and a clear
niche for the program surfaces, switch gradually to a more statically verified
method, ending up with a mature, solid, bugfree project with a minimum of work.
This I think is far superior to the "engineering" approach because no matter
how much planning is put into the design of a project, it will not be
sufficient; flexibility is of the utmost importance early on.

The important thing here is to give the programmer freedom, so I agree with
Larry Wall in that respect. But freedom implies not the absence of rules, but
rather their optional presence.

I've always thought this was a basic principle of TUNES.
-Jeff Cutsinger