Typing system vs. Java

Donn Cave donn at drizzle.com
Fri Aug 10 19:42:34 CEST 2001


Quoth anamax at earthlink.net (Andy Freeman):
| Donn Cave <donn at drizzle.com> wrote in message news:<997418262.593664 at yabetcha.sttl.drizzle.com>...
|> But anyway, did I say you should write the whole thing in C?
|> I should bite my tongue, but actually I did not say that.
|> I stay away from C when I can, and you should too.  I only
|> said "a faster language".
|
| Well, if we're restricting ourselves to statically typed mainstream
| languages, they're all basically C for the purposes of this discussion.

>From the "shootout" figures, OCaml would be one place to look.  This
is not at all an endorsement of OCaml over Python, OCaml in general,
the shootout benchmarks, an assertion that OCaml is a mainstream
language, etc.  It does appear to be a faster option, without C's
liabilities.

| The notion that static type checking can improve performance is not
| at issue.  The question is whether the costs of static type checking
| are worth that performance.  Also, remember that stalin shows that
| static type inference can bring many of the performance benefits of
| static type checking to dynamically typed languages.  Implementing
| such inference is largely a globally fixed cost and the benefits will
| be received by all applications.  Static typing's costs are incurred
| by all applications.

When we came in, if I recall the early posts to this long thread,
someone made everyone upset by suggesting that Python's lack of
static typing was a liability for acceptance in the industry.
I don't know if it's true, you may or may not agree.  It isn't
worth rehashing that all over again, but the performance benefit
was only a beneficial potential side effect - some people actually
have the demented view that static typing is an asset in itself.

| So, how many of YOUR applications would be significantly improved
| if they were 2x faster?  Be specific?  What would you give up for
| that speed?

Python is a good choice for the things that Python is good for.
When Python is over its head, for performance reasons for example,
I don't write in Python.  So all my Python applications are fast
enough within reasonable limits.  I'm just tired of writing C,
that's all.  For the moment, I think that's where I'm going to
leave it.  If you don't think anything that isn't fast enough in
Python is worth doing, then that's good for you.

	Donn Cave, donn at drizzle.com



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