[geeks] Software Bloat
Joshua D Boyd
geeks at sunhelp.org
Mon Dec 17 14:57:27 CST 2001
On Mon, Dec 17, 2001 at 07:19:47PM +0000, David Cantrell wrote:
> Greg A. Woods wrote:
> > Joshua D Boyd wrote:
> > > Maybe the next time a team decides to take on the wordprocessor market,
> > > they should consider just building a small simple little run time, and
> > > then build the rest on top using python or guile (I'm partial to guile,
> > > but python might be more palletable to people like my parents).
> > Ruby would be better. :-)
> > Smalltalk would be ideal.
> > Scheme isn't bad though, and ANSI Common Lisp is OK too.
> I don't think it matters too much. To a non-programmer - like my parents,
> or, I imagine, Joshua's - then python, guile, lisp, ruby, smalltalk, tcl,
> perl, vb, and any of the other scripting languages, are all equally alien.
> So what if perl lets you get closer to an English sentence, or if ruby is
> more orthogonal, or if smalltalk lets you Do More With Less. Doesn't
> matter which one you go for, you've still got to learn logic, basic maths,
> and a whole new language family* when you learn your first programming
My parents can follow basic code and basic like code. Hence python shouldn't
be any trouble. I don't know why Mom learned basic originally (many long years
ago, when basic had line numbers), but she mainly just touches occasionally in
Access. Dad mainly just touches it in Excel or Access.
The things that would be exceptionally alien to power users who just want to
make small tweaks would be all the parenthesis, and worse, the prefix notation
for math. Looking at the contents of some of Dad's excel cells, I rather
suspect that he would find functional programming easy enough he wanted to.
The idea is to make something that power users can write 10-20 line macros that
they then attach to a button or menu item. Most people should already
understand enough logic to be able to do simple things (of course, then I try
and help some of the low level CD students at MU...).
I think that it wouldn't be out of the question to adopt both scheme and python
in one product, but perhaps that way madness lies.
It obviously is a bad idea to actually expect anyone to need to use the built
in programming language for routine work.
> OTOH, if we assume that most users won't touch the scripting language and
> that it'll be people like us who use it to write applications for users
> on top of the base of C, then we need to support more than one language.
> I can't stand python, and no doubt the pythonistas can't stand perl, and
> everyone hates java apart from the J2EE fanboys, and ... well, if we *do*
> support only one language, then scheme, common lisp, or smalltalk, in that
> order of preference, would get my vote.
I wonder. What if it was written in scheme, with a scheme module that parses
python to scheme s-expressions... That bit about python using underlieing
s-expressions that can be manipulated directly keeps haunting me. Now I'm
going to need to spend time figuring out if this is true.
BTW, http://www.ibiblio.org/obp/py4fun/lisp/lisp.html is about a project that
wrote a lisp in python.
Also, BTW, why don't you like python? Is it the whitespace thing? I must
admit, I'm not super crazy about perl. It is fine for somethings, but it gets
ugly fast. I'm significantly a bigger fan of Python, although I use it only
slightly more than perl.
>>>Writing systems like this in a scripting language could be considered a sign of
>>> bloat by some people. It probably would require more disk space. But, it
>>> should make the software more maintainable, and hopefully faster (easier to
>>> work with language usually means easier to optimize, plus you can always
>>> rewrite critical parts in C if need be), and if it is those 2 things, most
>>> people won't care about the disk space.
>> You're right about that first sentence, at least according to every
>> Emacs detractor I've ever heard from! ;-)
> I'm an emacs detractor, and I don't think it's overly bloated for what it
> does. The 20Mb that it takes on my box is 20Mb crammed with features.
So, err, what don't you like about emacs? Are you a vi person, or some else
altogether. I think I understand the mindset that prefers vi. That just isn't
I probably shouldn't have asked that, it might incite violence.
> > However you're also right on the money in the last sentence too. Look
> > around on the net for the "autobiography" about the development of
> > AutoCAD and the decision to use lisp as its extension language.
> Mmmmm ... I loved that language!
Never played with autocad. I've spent a lot of time in 3DS (both the old dos
software, and MAX), and they don't seem to have kept lisp, although in 3DS Max
R3, they did bring in a new MAXScript system.
Joshua D. Boyd
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