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 These days, I mostly post my tech musings on Linkedin.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanmcgrath/

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Ernie from tech support

Some strong language and robust metaphors in this standup piece by Ernie Cline. Suitable for those at either end of a tech support call in need of some light relief. [MP3]

Linguistic Simplicity

[via Artima] Linguistic simplicity.

Pssst. XML is not a good syntax for a programming language

Opinions differ of course. Each to his own but I find XML-based imperative programming awful with a capital A. Compare the two factorial functions on this page.
I'm mulling a future itworld article that I want to write on syntactic aesthetics. I believe that when it comes to syntax, "beauty" is a mini-endorphine rush nature gives you to re-inforce your brains opinion that what you are looking at is easy to grok with a good blend of expressive power and clarity.
Tag based programming languages, with angle-brackets sticking their arses in the air at every saccade, don't cut any endorphines loose for me.

Friday, August 22, 2003

More fuel to the fire - Dynamic languages and enterprise applications

In the Joel on software forum. Peter Breton says
"...I also get the sense that the companies don't think that this is 'a difference that makes a difference' ".
This is indeed a problem. I find translating it into dollars works well. Take a conservative figure of a factor of five increase in productivty and crunch the numbers. Companies who get it, who believe it, can hit the bottom line in a positive wa very quickly by incorporating dynamically typed/latently typed langauges like Python/Jython into their development processes. With a high focus on test driven development of course:-) Goes without saying right?

Test versus Type

Interesting piece about the whole tests versus types thing, a better classification system to get beyond the asinine, bludgenous, torpitude of "static versus dynamic". Oh, and a full and frank exchange of views in the comments :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

NITF version 3.2

NIFT is one of those things that has been in my peripheral vision for a long time but I have not had the chance to look at it more closely. How does this sit with blogs/rss/peaw?

An RNC mode for Emacs

Thanks to Bill for a pointer to this RNC mode for Emacs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Von Neumann's Curse

Some musings on parallelism and the embarrasment of computational power at our disposal - still largely untapped in my opinion - owing to a predisposition to think of processing as centralised. An E-Business in the Enterprise article.

Postel's Law and XML

Aaron claims that XML's draconian error handling violates Postel's Law and is bad.
I disagree. It's not that simple. When XML is used in a machine to machine context ("I'm sending this guys blood pressure figures to that machine over there") you definitely want draconian error handling. I don't want any machine making a stab at interpreting something that is bogus and cannot unambigously be turned into a DAG.
When XML is used in a human facing context (XHTML for example), draconian is, arguably, too draconian. The two cases have to be kept distinct IMHO.

RelaxNG compact syntax

"...this is the best syntax currently available for writing schemas for XML languages". Tim Bray.
No argument from here.