[BangPypers] Wall street may embrace Python

Dhananjay Nene dhananjay.nene at gmail.com
Mon Apr 26 14:00:27 CEST 2010

On Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 5:12 PM, Sirtaj Singh Kang <sirtaj at sirtaj.net>wrote:

> On 26-Apr-10, at 4:47 PM, Rajeev J Sebastian wrote:
> [snip]
>  With all due respect, I disagree that a DSL is useful for this
>> purpose. In fact, I would disagree with DSLs in most cases, especially
>> if its supposed to be used for programming. The reason for this is
>> that creating a good language is much more harder than creating a
>> language, and such efforts tend to end up with crappy languages.
> Your concern is valid, but I think you are underestimating the amount of
> effort already being put into creating platform-neutral DSLs for business,
> law and finance. Hint: an XML schema is a declarative specification of a
> DSL, albeit one with terrible, human-antagonistic syntax. Even the SEC
> document contains such a thing already, as Anand quoted in an earlier email
> in this thread.

> What all these share in common is lack of human-friendly concrete syntax.
> That is the real problem to be solved, but it remains to be seen who will
> solve it and whether the vendors of eye-wateringly expensive middleware have
> the motivation to do so.
> -Taj.
I would agree with Rajeev except to the extent of a minor nuancing of his
statement.  - " I disagree that a DSL is
<strikeout>useful</strikeout><insert>politically practical</insert> for this

Taj, the main issue isn't whether standardisation necessary for DSLs is
feasible - but the sheer amount of effort, time, political bickerings, and
heat that accompanies it. If one uses python we save that entire diversion
which if carried to its natural conclusion would be useful, but is just too
expensive to carry to its natural conclusion.

Moreover, lets say next time one wants to use a precise semantics for
something thats not related to waterfall implications - the process is
started all over again. Each time. Thats what agreeing on python saves,
despite the fact that it may not be as reflective of the underlying domain
and therefore as natural in its communication as a python program.

I think the organisations which publish or consume such fiscal modeling
constructs could encourage investigation of whether a DSL is better for
internal communication - but agreeing upon a DSL for universal (ie. subject
to the universe addressed by SEC) consistency (which is what SEC filings are
for) is likely to be far more painful than any benefits it might reap.

- Dhananjay

blog: http://blog.dhananjaynene.com
twitter: http://twitter.com/dnene

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