[ProgSoc] Progsoc debate?

Myles Byrne myles at myles.id.au
Wed Apr 16 09:15:35 EST 2008

On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 10:43 AM, Nathan de Vries <nathan at atnan.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 23:20 +1000, Myles Byrne wrote:
>  > Those are crappy names but what I'm trying to describe is the growing
>  > rift between the python/ruby/perl camp who employ parsing & runtime
>  > tricks to shorten their line-count - sometimes creating new mini
>  > languages (or dialects of the original language) - and the Java/C#
>  > camp who favor a less malleable runtime and more explicit syntax so
>  > they can do cool stuff at the tool level with static analysis of the
>  > code.
>  What about:
>         The often touted "agile", "nimble" benefits of loosely typed,
>         dynamic languages are negated by the use of powerful automated
>         code refactoring tools when combined with statically typed
>         languages.

That's good except I don't really want to focus on types
(loose/strict/explicit/inferred or even duck). Languages are more than
the implementation of a type system, in fact it's probably the least
interesting part. How about:

The often touted benefits of dynamic (think runtime, not types)
languages are negated by the use of powerful code analysis and
modification tools that come with modern static (hard to modify
runtime) languages.

>  I've recently had this argument with the Java developers at work,
>  something along the lines of "aren't you sick and tired of defining
>  getters & setters all day?", to which the inevitable response is "my IDE
>  does that for me". This makes no sense to me, since you would think that
>  these laborious tasks carried out by the IDE could be dropped in favour
>  of language changes.

I agree but the counter argument is that the advantage of the language
*not* changing is that you can actually write the tools to generate
the getters/setters and that functionality wont be pulled out from
under you with the next language release (which is years out anyway).
The language essentially acts like a high level assembly and tools
(not text) are what you use to interface with your program.

>  A humorous thought is that of the Eclipse developers, writing Eclipse in
>  Java but without the tools required to make writing Java a tolerable
>  experience. I wonder how quickly they were capable of bootstrapping &
>  started writing Eclipse in Eclipse with demonstrable improvement to
>  development time.

I heard on a podcast the first version was written in smalltalk, then
they gradually swapped bits out for Java implementations.

-- Myles

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