"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

All My Languages Use an Image File

Blaine points out a fantastic feature Smalltalk has had (yes, since the 1970s), that more language systems should emulate.

My favorite part of the night though was the reaction I got when I shut down the image, restarted it, and was at the exact point that I left it instantly. The power of image-based development compels thee!
But the thing is *all* my languages are now image based. Ever since I started using VMWare, my entire machine's state is saved and restored, rolled forward with snapshots, linked and branched, etc.

It's not all the way there as with Smalltalk, e.g. no browsing and selecting from "change sets", etc. But it is pretty useful.

I bet other people using virtual machines like VMWare had no idea their languages were "image based"! What a weird thing. Who'd want that? 8^)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Building Any System

From Curtis Poe, "Building Large Systems"...

Here’s a little secret that many “test-infected” developers know: testing makes you a better programmer. It’s not just that your code works. It’s that if you find something is hard to test, that’s a code smell. Maybe your superWunderFunction() which takes 13 arguments isn’t designed terribly well. That’s not saying that all hard-to-test code has a design flaw... but as you test more, you start writing code that’s easier to test...

When you start writing code that is easier to test, do you know what you’re doing? You’re eating your own dog food. You’re using your code and you start writing code which is easier to use. It starts becoming better-designed code. As an added benefit, if programmers are unsure how to use your code, they can always read the tests. Tests are not a substitute for documentation, but they are an excellent supplement to it.

Matt Drudge - Pedophile? LOL

Well, that might be going overboard. He only supports pedophiles with their habit when they are Republican congressmen.

There's a difference, right?

On the October 2 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Internet gossip Matt Drudge stated that Foley's sexually explicit alleged communication with a minor through an instant-messenger program "wasn't coerced." Drudge went on to say that "the kid was having fun with this" because the alleged conversation included "[t]hese LOLs throughout the entire conversation, these 'laugh out louds.' " Drudge even went so far as to accuse the underage former pages -- whom he twice referred to as "beasts" -- of "egging the Congressman on" during their alleged conversations, claiming that "[t]hese kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth," as Media Matters for America noted.
But this coverup is across the board with Republican politicians (Gingrich, et al.), spokespeople (Snow, et al.), and media celebreties (Limbaugh, et al.).

I would hang my head and stay inside for a week if I were a self-respecting Republican right now. This is a disgrace so far beyond that previous Clinton disgrace. Where is the outrage at the acts? Where is the outrage at the cover-up? Where is the outrage at the cover-up of the cover-up? We're talking about *children*.

Vote the other ticket in the election. Then they get to investigate everyone for the next couple of years to find out what's really been going on in congress and the administration.

And how about that congressman (Reynolds?) who brought some "kids from his community" to his press conference so the media could not ask detailed questions about sex?

LOL indeed.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When All Else Fails

There is a lot of fear about dynamic languages in the comments at James Robertson's blog (and at Tim Bray's).

I recommend these handy little things called "tests". When all else fails, do the right thing.

The devil is out to steer you onto the wrong path.

I'm convinced that they are not suited for large-scale software development...
I guess if I listened to the devil, he'd have me recall all those large-scale applications I've written over the last 25 years that have designed electronics, moved things through factories, dispatched equipment in hurricanes, and so on because they're not written in a suitable language.

Beware the devil. Over on the devil's own blog...

I think there [a solution]: dynamic languages that allow you to type your variables if you feel like it, and the only language that I can think of that does that at the moment is Groovy.
Well, let's see. Common Lisp had that about 22 years ago. Maybe there's something to learn from a couple decades of real experience? Conclusion? Feh.

This is the devil that used to want you to program in C, not Smalltalk. Then C++, not Smalltalk. Then Java, not Smalltalk. Now he's willing to give you Smalltalk if you type your objects once in a while.

Don't listen to the devil. Write tests in simple, dynamic languages. Do good work. Keep the devil at bay.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Shades of Kelsey

Also from the recent Scheme Workshop... "An Incremental Approach to Compiler Construction"...

Real-life compilers are too complex to serve as an educational tool. And the gap between real-life compilers and the educational toy compilers is too wide. The novice compiler writer stands puzzled facing an impenetrable barrier, “better write an interpreter instead.”

The goal of this paper is to break that barrier. We show that building a compiler can be as easy as building an interpreter.

Termite Part Deux

From the recent Scheme Workshop, here is the follow-up for Termite, Concurrency Oriented Programming in Termite Scheme (pdf).

Our system is well suited for building custom protocols and abstractions for distributed computation. Its open network model allows for the building of non-centralized distributed applications. The possibility of failure is reflected in the model, and ways to handle failure are available in the language. We exploit the existence of first class continuations in order to allow the expression of high-level concepts such as process migration.

Are You Not Entertained?

From the Republican House's torture bill (again via Steve D.)...

"No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter."
Let's remember back a few years...
If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator. -George W. Bush
The next couple of years will make the highlight reels of American politics. Someone's going down, but it is not yet clear who. So far it looks like Lady Liberty is heading for the floor.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.