[plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers

From: karczma (karczma at info.unicaen.fr)
Date: Thu Oct 14 18:34:15 EDT 2004

George Demmy writes: 

> Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu> writes:

>> As everyone has probably noticed by now, there are
>> two radically different notions of programming at play: 
>>   Definition 1: systematically design and re-design (factor)
>>   an application. Typically others use this software, and
>>   also typically this software is maintained over some time.
>>   But not always. 
>>   Definition 2: get the computer to do something for you,
>>   anything almost (even if it is not quite right). 
>> And 2 is the winning notion, even if it's wrong. Then
>> again even though it is wrong for all kinds of reasons,
>> it has a place.
> This is a variation of the Worse is Better dialectic: 
> http://www.dreamsongs.com/WorseIsBetter.html 
> Richard Gabriel wrestled with these competing philosophies in a series
> of essays, which may be of some interest to those not familiar with
> them.

Messieurs, both of you...
I come from a particular milieu: physicists, high-energy physicists
whose computational needs were always enormous. They opted for (1),
a long time ago. 

Now, do you think that it contributed to "good is better than bad" or

Actually, the enormous collaborations and monstrous software projects
rigidified the souls of my folk, they preferred for years incremental
bug correction, no escape from Fortran, no true refactoring, in general
the philosophy "unknown is worse than bad" (hm... a good reference? the
Hamlet monolog, surely). 

I think that the problem is more complex than it seems. As always. 

Jerzy Karczmarczuk 

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