Minor observation on the programming enterprise (was: Python for large projects)
claird at lairds.com
Sun Mar 28 18:42:49 CEST 2004
In article <8ef9bea6.0403260837.72a8fade at posting.google.com>,
Hung Jung Lu <hungjunglu at yahoo.com> wrote:
>(a) In compiled language like C++, changing function prototypes and
>variable names is comfortable, because the compiler will find all
>those spots that you need to change. In Python, you do not have the
>same level of comfort. Sure, there are other techniques, but it's
>different than clicking a button.
Remarkable fact that I see as turning up all over: we work with
grep(1). There are visual programming and language-savvy editors
and IDEs and refactoring plugins and all sorts of other tools,
and we find our variables with text searches. 'Know how to make
a C programmer mad? Name a global variable 'i'. 'Know how to
make him happy? Change the name to 'ii'. Both Lisp's inventor
and I keep our human address collection in a plaintext file.
It's as though humans tried for thousands of years to come up
with better ways to hit things, and kept returning to the idea of
Oh. We have.
I'm not sure what to conclude. It's one of the things that
civilians have a hard time appreciating, though. "Good names"
are incredibly important in our quotidian work, as mundane as
they simultaneously are.
Cameron Laird <claird at phaseit.net>
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