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

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Thursday, May 01, 2003

Bob Martin's Weblog and Dynamic Languages

First, I am thrilled to have come across Bob Martin's weblog. His first book is still required reading as far as I am concerned, it is not a C++ book, it is a *design* book. His second is right up there as well, having won a 2002 Jolt award. He's co-authored, edited, etc. many others too.

Second, this weblog topic asks, are dynamic languages replacing static languages? He goes on to confirm what dynamic language programmers have been confirming to themselves for forty years: dynamic languages and their iterative, incremental approach to design obviates the need for static type checking.

The next interesting question addresses the future of type systems and will a more formal yet expressive static type system be more productive than either dynamic languages or the more primitive type systems of Java and C#?

My take on it is this having done a lot of dynamic language programming and a little modern functional language programming...

There is a convergence out there, maybe ten years out on the road to The Hundred Year Language, where better (less intrusive, more expressive) formal type systems and dynamic programming meet. After all, incrementally building a dynamic system of objects is not unlike incrementally building an expressive system of typed combinators!

Essentially type systems are theorem provers. The more expressive they become, the close they are to the problem domain, just as the more expressive dynamic languages allow us to speak more about the problem domain than the "compiling domain". In the future I expect to be able to dynamically build semi-formal systems and then have that system tell me things, i.e. prove theorems about itself. From there I can make adjustments not just through more tests and code, but through direct manipulation of the "theorems" I have stumbled upon.

Talk about refactoring! Organizations with interacting systems will be able to refactor the "theorems" of how they do business. It's one thing to share tests and dynamically update them, but it's another thing to share theorems and dynamically update those.

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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.