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LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
COBOL was also immensely successful in "enterprise" applications
being successful in that market does not equate to being a great language
GNU sed 4.2.2 released; maintainer resigns
Posted Dec 26, 2012 18:34 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
Posted Dec 26, 2012 19:06 UTC (Wed) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
There is no perfect language. There are lots of languages and development environments, and to each problem there is a proper solution. And the solution depends on external factors (where I work today there are many corporate apps written in Delphi7; why? because we have a lot of tenured developers that are fluent in it, so Delphi7 it is.)
Of course C++ is not a perfect language. Personally, having more than ten years of experience developing and maintaining sofware on both C++ and Java, I tend to prefer some aspects of C++ (especially the algorithmic libraries, STL, boost and others), and I suffer with Java's latencies, XMLims, and endless repetitions of the same thing when I need its nice multitiered web development tools.
For graphical apps, C++ (with your preferred UI toolkit -- mine is Qt) is excellent, I'm sorry, no need to have a multilanguage team. And, having supervised a multilanguage team, I can say one thing to you: a monolanguage team (of the same size/capable of writing the same app) is cheaper, because of the interface between languages, where things WILL get problematic...
Posted Dec 27, 2012 0:12 UTC (Thu) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
You are really too kind spending time reading it nevertheless and - even better - enlightening it with your post. Thank you so much.
Posted Dec 27, 2012 1:55 UTC (Thu) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
Yes, I know what sarcasm is and I can even detect it more than 75% of the time!!
Seriously, my "enlightening" comment had one of the following intents:
1. To show off how old I am and that I am here since the dawn or time, or the invention of C++ by Stroustroup, whichever came first (hint: NOT); or
2. To try to break up a language war when there are no two languages really competing.
My point, if in the last post it didn't come across is that there is no competition for C++. There is no competition for Java (ok, maybe clojure :-D). There is no competition for Python, Perl and definitively no competition for my fellow countrymen's Lua.
Posted Dec 26, 2012 19:07 UTC (Wed) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
In Enterprise Programming, the prior fad was C++. Different languages have different strong points, but just because they are used a lot by some group doesn't mean that they are great languages overall.
in a different field, mortgage backed securities
or as your mother probably put it "If all your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you do so as well"
Posted Dec 27, 2012 0:08 UTC (Thu) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
> in a different field, mortgage backed securities
Anything even more distant and off-topic?
> In Enterprise Programming, the prior fad was C++
... and it got replaced for some reason(s) [excellent point]
> "If all your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you do so as well"
This can explain to some extend why C++ got replaced by _only a few_ competitors but it's not enough to explain why C++ lost the throne. You don't get fired for buying the same as everyone else but you do get fired for wasting time and money throwing away for no clear benefit older technology that do the job. Many CEOs and CFOs could not care less about technology - even less technology fads.
Posted Dec 28, 2012 12:34 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
how about the widespread use of Windows?
Thanks for the reminder.
In Enterprise Programming, the prior fad was C++.
Absolutely not. The prior fad was called Visual Basic (by some estimates half of the “programmers” in circa 2000 were Visual Basic programmers. And before that it was xBase (dBase, Clipper, etc).
The fact that enterprise programming graduated to some [relatively] modern and sane language is kind of astonishing, but it just shows that “enterprise programmers” are improving.
“Enterprise programming” is not about good code. It's as in the following dialogue:
Chode: Ok, they might have been slightly used.
Gus: And let me guess… cheap, cheap, cheap?!
Chode: No, they were even cheaper than that.
Chode talks about saving big on the “dutritium rods” and “enterprise programming” is about saving big on the software engineers but the principle stays: it's about something barely functioning but “even cheaper then “cheap, cheap, cheap””.
Enterprise programming do advance over time: remember that it started with “ADD b TO c GIVING a” because “a = b + c” was considered too cumbersome for these “cheap, cheap, cheap” programmers. If you'll view evolution of “enterprise programming” from this POV then Java is indeed the pinnacle of said evolution: you can finally easily construct anything you want in the “enterprise language” (you don't need these expensive C++ programmers to create “components” now! yay!) and language even tries to detect and report most problems—what's not to like?
As usual, the fact that some language is widely used by “enterprise programmers” probably means that is's too inefficient to use for the projects where people actually know what they are doing, but, gasp, it's finally language which you can actually use to create [somewhat] efficient programs! Finally, after all these years!
Posted Dec 28, 2012 21:22 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Posted Dec 29, 2012 1:15 UTC (Sat) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
That's why I don't understand how can people can find it ugly. :-D
Posted Dec 29, 2012 1:39 UTC (Sat) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Along similar lines, many of these same managers see DevOps as a way to eliminate those expensive *nix admins (I've heard many people use this as an excuse for using Windows, even in non-profit orgs with *nix people volunteering)
and many such managers are embracing the "cloud" because it again lets them eliminate expensive admins, and in addition the expensive facilities people
Posted Dec 29, 2012 11:51 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
I see value in having a homogeneous set of workers which can both work on development and administration; in fact that is how I prefer to work. Having two worlds where one side hurls undeployable code to the poor sysadmin side creates unnecessary barriers; while deploying your own code is good, and also makes sure that deployment is simple enough.
Same goes for cloud deployments. Commercial cloud services are really expensive compared with buying and maintaining your own servers, even when you factor sysadmin salaries. What they give is flexibility, and the ability to play around without waiting for decades to get hardware.
Sysadmin people, it's time to sharpen your development skills. And viceversa. We are one world once again.
Posted Dec 29, 2012 17:33 UTC (Sat) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Ahh, you just don't "get it", developers actually produce something, as a result, their expense can be justified.
But Sysadmins are just overhead, eliminating pure overhead is good, and DevOps promises to make things easier and faster by letting the developers do whatever they want. (this is not what DevOps is supposed to be, but this is what managers hear it to be)
> Having two worlds where one side hurls undeployable code to the poor sysadmin side creates unnecessary barriers
I agree with this, but I don't agree that every developer and sysadmin should be equally skilled in both specialities. They need to understand enough of the other's tasks to respect them, and to appriciate the expertise that they bring to the table.
Posted Dec 29, 2012 11:45 UTC (Sat) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
Yes. Massively reducing the amount of rope the programming masses used to be given to hang themselves with: definitely a major progress for the human kind. Really don't care if this requires double or triple more hardware to run since that's much cheaper than education.
As the experienced C++ developer you seem to present yourself as you should be happy because I think a rising tide lift all boats - even the C++ boat. I mean, even while C++ (or any other expert language) is losing market *share* there will still be increased demand for them if the overall market is growing fast.
[OT] my language is better than yours
Posted Dec 27, 2012 8:58 UTC (Thu) by oldtomas (guest, #72579)
Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications?
(Sorry. I was to weak to stay out of this language flamefest. I tried, I tried).
Posted Dec 27, 2012 12:43 UTC (Thu) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
A more relevant example indeed.
Not a great language but infinitely better (and especially: safer) than C++ in the hands of Joe the 8-to-5 enterprise software developer.
Both recently displaced by Java and .NET languages as explained in this brilliant, on-topic and highly recommended article:
> (Sorry. I was to weak to stay out of this language flamefest. I tried, I tried).
It looks like any complex computing technology is bound to make computer "scientists" emotional and irrational. Maybe because of the enormous brain investment they require?
Posted Dec 27, 2012 12:22 UTC (Thu) by vonbrand (subscriber, #4458)
COBOL is a great language for its intended purpose (frobbing sequential files to generate voluminous, complex printouts). The world changed around it, there is little use for that in today's environment.
(Yes, I did get turned off by it at first sight too, but you have to look into the more advanced language features like the REPORT WRITER and such to really "get it".)
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