Python vs C for a mail server

Peter Hansen peter at engcorp.com
Tue Jan 31 18:55:25 CET 2006


Randall Parker wrote:
> The point of doing compile time and test time checking is the same
> reason militaries use layered defenses: More problems get caught. I've
> written tons of software tests and architected a testing system for an
> entire aircraft. I've also watched lots of errors get by tests.

Hmm... with that analogy, I would have to say that most people who 
strongly advocate static typing and compiler tests are really relying 
solely on their perimeter guards.  They seem to think that provides 
sufficient defense, and forget to finish the fortress walls.  That is, 
they often don't do adequate tests.

Those of us who have really strong fortress walls might sometimes be 
willing to forego the perimeter guard, perhaps unwisely, but at least we 
know immediately when we're under attack.

> Plus, tests become just another layer that needs testing. They also
> become another layer that can get out of synch with the rest of the
> software.

Not if you are doing test-driven development, at least.  In that case by 
definition if you're out of sync, it's the code which is failing the 
test because the test defines what the code should be doing.

-Peter




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