Friday, May 09, 2003

EuroPython call for proposals extended to May 12

http://www.europython.org/. I don't think I'll make it this year, sigh.

Tim Bray on programming

A couple of quotes

    "maybe everything we thought we knew about strong typing is wrong."
    "So maybe in 2020 we'll all be programming in either Python or C."
    "...given that strong typing is a serious pain in the ass, maybe we're going all going to end up using dynamically-typed languages like Python."

Full piece here Language Fermentation.
The terminology here can get complex. Python for example which is the answer to most of the words problems:-) has strong typing. What differentiates it from Java etc. is that the typing is dynamic - not static. Static typing - and the whole concept of compiling programs manually are the most egregious blind alleys programming has gone down in recent times.
Sadly, those who really, really like static typing have also penetrated the XML world to terrible effect in recent times.
Dynamic typing is good for you. Its good for programming. Its good for data. It makes it possible to develop software without a crystal ball and without a 10x hit between "product" and services thanks to the extra levels of loose coupling it introduces into your designs.
If you haven't yet tried it - get Python, get XML and do something non-trivial with the combination.
Give it a couple of weeks to sink in. I promise you, you won't go back.


Thursday, May 08, 2003

Relax(i)NG into XHTML 2.0

Latest Working Draft for XHTML 2.0 uses RelaxNG for its schema language. Whopeee!

Who owns your data

Who owns you data?.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Walter Perry is such a treasure

[Posting to do with XML security : http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/200305/msg00139.html
    "Quite simply, obviating in the name of security the uniquely useful benefits which truly expert processing confers is the choice of a known stupidity over an as yet undiscovered enlightenment.

The network is not the computer

Patrick Logan hits a home run in my opinion.

    "The network is not the computer. My computer is over here and yours is over there. All we need is a simple way to exchange documents.
    The documents are the messages. The computers are the cells. (Fortresses in Roger Session's metaphor.)
    The connections should be as simple as possible and get out of the way

Yes, yes, yes!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

This is really, really getting on my nerves

The number of times *this* has come into my in-box is way beyond the number of superstrings in the entire universe:

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I presume it happens when you save HTML out of Word and then e-mail the HTML page - or something. Verrry irritating.

Symmetrical and asymmetrical system design


    "There are two types of people in the world. Those who like symmetrical designs and those that don't."

No prizes for guessing what type of person made that comment. Symmetrical and asymmetrical system design explores symmetry in the context of software architecture (A bit. The subject deserves a whole book. Maybe someday.).

Monday, May 05, 2003

Another great article from Paul Graham

Via Tim Bray. Another excellent article on programming from Paul Graham. Hackers and Painters.

Programmer Productivity? Python!

Bruce Eckel explains better that I can (believe me, I've tried), why Python is so darned productive and questions - quite rightly - the infatuation that most programmers have with strong typing.
You mean you declare all variables and then (giggle) manually compile your programs? How Twenthieth Century of you :-)

XML Sucks


    "XML is useful in appropriate contexts, but it is being grossly abused in most of the ways it is being used today."

Here is the most XML-ish part of the piece:
http://www.artima.com/intv/plain4.html
The full article starts here:
http://www.artima.com/intv/plain.html
My take? Some of its right and some of its wrong. There was a time when most of it was wrong. Back in the early days of XML before we layered all the crud on that allows people to - quite understandably - balk at the sheer complexity and not-for-human-consumption of XML 2003.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Two red chillies

I use Eudora. It uses red chillies to indicate e-mails that contain swear words and the like. I recently received an e-mail confirming an order I had made on an on-line store. It was rated at two red chillies.
I stared long and hard at it before I figured out why it deserved that rating. Here it is - verbatim apart from user and account details:

    Dear Sean McGrath,

    This is an automated email to advise you that we have received your order. It was processed on our website at 18:22 on 04/05/03. The order was placed by user [THIS] under account number [NUMBER].

    Take advantage of fantastic savings on your favourite office supplies with our 'Monthly Special Offers' feature. You can save up to 69% off best selling lines, purchase special bundle deals and get free gifts every month.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Roll on Semantic Shadows for RDF

SSR is *exactly* what I was talking about in my article RDF and other Monkey Wrenches - Semantic Shadows. Generalisations of knowledge representations via transformation. A very powerful - and up and coming approach.