Thursday, November 24, 2005

 

Or....

I received an email from JavaLobby, which had in it this article at EclipseZone, which talks about the plusses and minuses of adding features to Java. From the article:

Language guys love to tweak. I know, because I'm a language guy myself. I used to work on compilers, code generators, libraries, and debuggers. We were always adding new stuff, new commands, special keywords, etc. Did our users thank us for it? Maybe the one or two that wanted the new things, but the vast majority would just groan when a new release came out. What will this break now? Will I have to upgrade? Will I have to use somebody else's code that requires this new thing before I'm ready? Has it been ported to all the machines I need to run on? Boring, I know, but very practical and important issues.

Or... you can work in a language where if you want the one or two new things, you can just add them, and let the other guy that wants one or two other things added to the language add what he wants.

Or... I could just let Peter Siebel say it better:

DOLIST is similar to Perl's foreach or Python's for. Java added a similar kind of loop construct with the "enhanced" for loop in Java 1.5, as part of JSR-201. Notice what a difference macros make. A Lisp programmer who notices a common pattern in their code can write a macro to give themselves a source-level abstraction of that pattern. A Java programmer who notices the same pattern has to convince Sun that this particular abstraction is worth adding to the language. Then Sun has to publish a JSR and convene an industry-wide "expert group" to hash everything out. That process--according to Sun--takes an average of 18 months. After that, the compiler writers all have to go upgrade their compilers to support the new feature. And even once the Java programmer's favorite compiler supports the new version of Java, they probably still can't use the new feature until they're allowed to break source compatibility with older versions of Java. So an annoyance that Common Lisp programmers can resolve for themselves within five minutes plagues Java programmers for years.

Comments:
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