Life Lessons

Leo Simons seems to be having exactly the experiance that pushed me out of Ada and into Lisp 22 years ago.

Java in many ways is kind-of a joke (yes yes its great for some stuff). On the surface its this really type-safe, compiled, predictable language everyone is using for everything. When you dig a little deeper and look at what actually is going on in “real life”, you’ll see that there’s usually some hack to get rid of all that type safety and predictability. For example, you generate source code based on XML, or you generate object code based on XML. And of course we don’t stop there. Since its kind-of hard to sensibly specify chunks of code that are bigger than a “class” (hint: other languages have things like “modules”), we use some huge application library, which we of course configure using more XML. Nevermind that we need to load 500 megs of jars into memory to make all that happen.

Programming languages ought to allow the designer to craft his notations, type models, and execution models so they fit the problem. Not demand that the problem be force fed into the mold handed down by somebody who hadn’t a clue what your problem requires.

Problem is that if you decide to make a switch your forced to write off a vast sunk cost, a network of relationships and a fluent skill set. At the same time your stuck deciding where to jump; and you can not know the color of the grass until your living right on top of it.

0 thoughts on “Life Lessons

  1. billo

    I’m going through this too. Sadly, I was big into lisp early in my career, then was dragged through C, C++, and Java. Gosh I miss Lisp; lately I’ve been using any excuse possible to use Ruby, which feels a lot like lisp to me.

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