Re: Programming project required

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jan 21 2001 - 03:47:23 MST

Emlyn wrote:

> Geez, the purists really did jump down my throat on this whole issue. I'm
> beginning to be concerned that I'm crossing into troll territory on the
> language/system choice issue.

I notice you did not bother to deal with any of the arguments raised
against MS products and environments. Why? Do you think it is right
just to call us "purists"?

> What can I say? I love GUIs, I don't love command lines. I've been a unix
> admin, and a unix developer, and my rather drawn out degree involved all
> coding on unix boxes. I've never really grown to like it. Perhaps it's
> because my earliest influence in IT was my dad, who hated unix with a
> passion (a vms man). There used to be a time when unix was seen as a cobbled
> together joke of an operating system, compared to the state of the art.

Really? Compared to what? Surely not compared to Windows which to this
day cannot even deal with multiple users correctly. VMS was halfway
decent. More than halfway. I greatly miss its System Services and
Runtime Library. But you won't find those things in Windows. Its
command language was rather a poor joke though.

> On the other hand, I've been working with MS stuff for years now. I love it.
> I love the win32 world. It's pretty. Some of the variants are even halfway
> decent operating systems. The tools are wonderful. The finished products are
> beautiful.

A bit of pretty GUI level stuff is enough heh? What about the broken
Basic environment? What of the quite poorly constructed MFC? DLLs are
really nice, but they were much better in OS2 which is a much superior
operating system to Windoze to this day. Which tools are wonderful?
The C++ environment? It is more or less acceptable as an IDE except
that it produces massive bloat and takes hours to compile decent sized
projects and doesn't give anywehre near adequate reflection or
cross-cutting abilities. And since MS doesn't really support file
soft-links it is a bit of a problem sharing build components among
members of a team. Visual Basic I already talked a bit about. J++, MS
attempt to steal Java in front of everyone, with an interface straight
out of Visual Basic? Is this your idea of a wonderful tool? How many
tools have you actually worked with? Do you know Smalltalk and Lisp
IDEs (back when they were still common)? Exactly what are you comparing
to? Only the command line? But the CLI has all the power despite not
being friedly. GUIs are nice, don't get me wrong, but they only do what
the designer of the GUI driven interface set them up to do. Oh yes, you
may be able to add to it with a Visual Basic subset. But that is very
little compared to having true access to the entire environment the GUI
elements were build from as you do in Smalltalk and some of the Lisp
IDEs. But if you want to produce COM components (which I admit are a
good thing generally although not as good imho as CORBA) then you have
to go write them in some other language, usually C++, rather than the
much touted VS Basic. Yes, .net may/will change this. But it is rather
too little, too late. And all of these tools are owned and locked tight
by MS, which quite clearly does not have the best interests of
programmers or the software world in general as a major goal. That they
are closed up means many of the best minds will not get a chance to
build from them unless they sell out to the great MS.

> Other than my pro MS bias, and a deep affection for Borland's Delphi, I
> don't have any particular alliegance to products/languages/etc. Whatever is
> necessary to get the job done. It's the thing you are trying to achieve, not
> the tools you use to achieve it with.

There is not one tool in Delphi or MS that has not been done and done
better in Lisp and Smalltalk ages ago. COM components and components
generally come close but that was taken straight (well actually very
round-about) from DEC DCE protocol and was MS attempting to define
itself separate from the rest of the world and true component
interoperability using CORBA. The couldn't own CORBA and sure weren't
going to offer any bridges to it. Not that CORBA is pretty either. I
actually don't like either of them technically as much as a distributed
object messaging system and environment I invented in 1985-1987.
Unfortunately it was about five years before its time and was invented
as a sideline to a company's main line of business. They ended up
owning the technology and had no idea what to do with it. A lesson I
will not soon forget.

> A final bit of ranting... while lots of people have said that ASP/IIS/ETC is
> a bad way to go (and even bad from a saleable job skills sense, weird),
> everyone's been putting forward a different point of view. I would put it to
> you all that none of us has the big picture. The IT world is truly immense
> these days; is it just possible that each of us is dwelling in his/her own
> private little (very large) world, and not considering views/truths from
> outside that domain?

Actually, I look at it differently. It is up to moral programmers with
a vision of how we could do things far better than we do now to choose
the tools that they believe are the best and to use those successfully
on enough projects to give them continuing life and dominance and to
make room to develop the next set of tools and the next after that until
we develop tools that take over their own development largely. I got
into this business to change the world, not just to give this or that
company what some manager is asking for today. I and others like me are
not done yet.

- samantha

        Work as if your very life depends on it. It does.

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