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Re: Emperor's new clothes - ACM followup.
(okay, this wound me up - if you don't feel the need to read a Monday
evening rant on Software Engineering, then please delete this now).
This month's ACM had three letters in response to Ledgard's piece that I
reproted on earlier. All agreed with Ledgard that OO was not solving the
All showing that there's no entry requirements, or fees, at the school
of stupidity and self-promotion. (So why, oh why, did I have to pay?)
One had another concrete example: his firm hired a Java/OO consultant at
$150/hour to do a parallel development of a tool to manipulate data. After
6 weeks the Java had nothing running; the other group completed their PERL
implementation in one week.
OO is a wonderful way of understanding and organising complex systems
and situations that gives you a chance of being able to maintain that
understanding when the organisation, or the components thereof, have
to change, or when the complexity increases, or when time just passes
by and you don't have the consultants around and for some reason you
still need the system that they built for you.
Time and time and time again you get *proof by example*, when all that
this method allows you to do is prove that some assertion is not
_universally_ true, or that there is at least one case in which your
argument appears to be true. No need for formal methods. No need for
OO. No need for whatever new technology or approach (or art, if you
like) you can suggest.
And boy, don't people like an excuse not to think, or not to learn.
I'm not going to bore you with a patient explanation of why OO *is*
invaluable, and why most other sensible structured approaches boil
down to the same thing, and which bits of the OO bandwagon are simply
nonsense and always were, and how OO is the modelling framework we
needed for projecting and slicing smaller models for analysis using
formal, or rigorous, or transferable (my current favourite) reasoning.
(look! naked formal methodists!)
I suppose that the article and letters might be part of a convergent
sequence of opinions, but it's irritating to see the true position go
past time and time again, because people won't address enough
contextual information, or even think too much, in their quest for the
And no, I have nothing to say. Except YES! if you have a simple
problem, that fits PERL's domain then of course you should use PERL.
Doh. If you have a serious, large software engineering problem, then
you might use PERL for some simple, flat aspect, but you don't start
using it for the Walls.
p.s. this isn't intended as any kind of rant against Dyke, or even a
cogent response to his email, naturally