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November 27, 2002

Web services choreography standard 18-24 months away

http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/11/20/021120hnw3years.xml. Excellent news.

More on Repetition, Generativity, and Patterns

I got some responses back from comp.object, some of them scathing, (hey, it's a hostile audience).

Thinking about it more and reading a .pdf linked from the essay, rpg's saying what he's always being saying - the software isn't good enough, nor is how we go about making it. It is a through provoking piece - but I could still do without the tabloid style title.

Unlce Bob Martin

It's a wonderful article full of great points and compelling argument. The title has nothing to do with the content. The title was simply a ploy to get people to read the article. His whole, laudable, point is that OO is a good tool, but we can't stop looking for other good tools. Amen!

Daniel T: :

"That's because it's shot full of fallacies. If he made a logical argument, and had any evidence to back it up, that would be different..."

Phil Thompson: :

"He seems to be arguing more against static typing than object orientation. He makes the observation that the statically-typed vision of OO (C++, Java, C#) took over as the dominant viewpoint whereas early on the more dynamic view of things OO (SmallTalk, Lisp) held sway and that this static view dominatinance led to a loss of diversity in thinking about OO - and on this point I would tend to agree with him. "

Jim McFarland:

"I didn't see him speak at OOPLSA, but I did skim over the article at his web site. From a quick look, I would say he makes some good points. When I get a chance, I will read/study the article in detail and comment more."

The effbot on SOAP v REST

REST vs XML-RPC vs SOAP ::: www.effbot.org

Got this link from the rest-discuss list on yahoogroups. A (brief) case study on moving from XML-RPC to REST oriented system. What's interesting is how Fredrik 's system became simpler when he used HTTP for control and element trees for data.

November 26, 2002

Sussman on computing

Computer Science is in deep trouble. Structured design is a failure. Systems, as currently engineered, are brittle and fragile. They cannot be easily adapted to new situations. Small changes in requirements entail large changes in the structure and configuration. Small errors in the programs that prescribe the behavior of the system can lead to large errors in the desired behavior. Indeed, current computational systems are unreasonably dependent on the correctness of the implementation, and they cannot be easily modified to account for errors in the design, errors in the specifications, or the inevitable evolution of the requirements for which the design was commissioned. ( Just imagine what happens if you cut a random wire in your computer!) This problem is structural. This is not a complexity problem. It will not be solved by some form of modularity. We need new ideas. We need a new set of engineering principles that can be applied to effectively build flexible, robust, evolvable, and efficient systems.
Gerald Jay Sussman, MIT

Richard Gabriel: Repetition, Generativity, and

Richard Gabriel: Repetition, Generativity, and Patterns

Well now :) It's been a while since I looked around Dreamsongs. I think Gabriel's way off the mark here. For the record, his "patterns" book is a firm favourite of mine and I do believe Lisp is the finest of programming languages. But this is just incoherent potshotting at OO. I didn't know what had failed, how it had failed, why it failed, what failure was, or even what he means by OO.

More than anything, what strikes me about this essay is that Gabriel doesn't have a firm view of what OO is. It seems to be whatever he doesn't like about computing.

Here's what OO is - programming by calling procedures through jumptables. The purpose of OO is twofold; dependency management and functional abstraction.

Now if Gabriel had said programming langauges had failed us, or computing has failed us, I'd agree with him (actually he has said this in the past). On the other hand, OO (insert definition here) is the primary computing paradigm for millions of programmer. There's nothing like rattling a few cages to get your point across. So I guess this is one tactic to get our attention (it's working on me at least). I just expect more from Gabriel.

My CTO happens to agree with him (Sean's comments).

November 25, 2002

Bluetooth suitcase from Samsonite

The Hardlite knows when it's lost, who owns it, and what its destination is.