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Wiki redux


I haven't seen an expression of thanks and appreciation to those who
rebuilt and relaunched the Wiki after the recent disaster.   So I
thought an appropriate kind of thanks would be to ask for suggestions
as to the kind of punishment that ought to be inflicted on the
reprobate(s) responsible for the problem in the first place, and offer
them as a kind of tribute for the sort of selfless effort that the
Wiki (and for that matter clt) represents.

My modest starter for ten is:

an eternity of coding themed GUIs in a threaded environment in COBOL.

This is, of course, a variation on J-P Sartre's famous definition,
that Hell is Other Programming Languages (and not, as he is sometimes
misquoted as saying, Hell is APL).

--
Steve Blinkhorn <s@prd.co.uk>

I want to join Steve in expressing my thanks to the wiki
people and utmost appreciation for what they do.

  -- Massimo

Steve Blinkhorn wrote:
> My modest starter for ten is:
> an eternity of coding themed GUIs in a threaded environment in COBOL.

I suggest minor change: not coding, maintaining, and not COBOL, hand-
optimized machine code ( la Mel). :-)

Donal.

On May 9, 3:03 am, "Donal K. Fellows" <donal.k.fell@man.ac.uk>
wrote:

> Steve Blinkhorn wrote:
> > My modest starter for ten is:
> > an eternity of coding themed GUIs in a threaded environment in COBOL.

> I suggest minor change: not coding, maintaining, and not COBOL, hand-
> optimized machine code ( la Mel). :-)

> Donal.

I'm not so sure about this. Granted that working with hand-optimized
machine code is tough, maintaining machine code a la Mel would at
least give the miscreant the opportunity to appreciate a work of art,
an opportunity presumably lacking in COBOL.

billpo@alum.mit.edu wrote:
> I'm not so sure about this. Granted that working with hand-optimized
> machine code is tough, maintaining machine code a la Mel would at
> least give the miscreant the opportunity to appreciate a work of art,
> an opportunity presumably lacking in COBOL.

True. I suppose we'd have to have him as a contractor doing it, so
only paid for results. Presumably the desire to eat would lead to the
pain level increasing greatly...

(Alternatively, they could be doing high performance interoperable and
stable webservices with Java/Axis; nothing beautiful whatsoever
there...)

Donal.

On May 10, 2:37 am, billpo@alum.mit.edu wrote:

Don't presume so much.  COBOL is a programming work of art as
originally conceived and implemented under the leadership of Lt. Cdr.
Grace Murray Hopper. Its decline can be atrributed to straying from
her lead principles of a language devoted to business and not science,
self-documenting, and readable as ordinary English (or French or
German) prose is readable. (GMH illustrated examples of all three in
her lectures.)

COBOL is still in use, whereas its contemporaries, FORTRAN, ALGOL etc.
and even latecomers like Pascal are fading from the scene.

I have two COBOL compilers on my LInux system, and I use COBOL more
than
I use the excellent product to be discussed here, Tcl/Tk.

John Culleton, CDP
COBOLling since 1968.

On May 10, 1:31 pm, "j@wexfordpress.com" <j@wexfordpress.com>
wrote:

Yes, but even if we grant that COBOL is not as awful as it is often
made out to be (and I will at least give COBOL credit for introducing
structures), there is a difference between the language being a work
of art and things written in the language being a work of art. Machine
languages are, I think, generally not particularly artistic, but may
be the medium for works of genius of the sort described in the famous
ode to Mel. I'm not aware of COBOL serving as a medium for such
things.
In article <1178829085.732083.206@h2g2000hsg.googlegroups.com>,
j@wexfordpress.com <j@wexfordpress.com> wrote:

                        .
                [spirited defense
                of COBOL]
                        .
                        .
>COBOL is still in use, whereas its contemporaries, FORTRAN, ALGOL etc.
>and even latecomers like Pascal are fading from the scene.

                        .
                        .
                        .
Watch it, there; Fortran's doing quite nicely, and there
certainly is a generation that resents the thought that
ALGOL and COBOL are in the same cohort.

I'm plenty sympathetic to what you write about COBOL
itself.

John Culleton wrote:
> FORTRAN [is] fading from the scene.

It is? From where I sit, it is still going strong as it still gets by
far the best performance for certain important classes of scientific
and engineering codes.

Donal.

On 10 mei, 22:31, "j@wexfordpress.com" <j@wexfordpress.com>
wrote:

I see two responses to your claim about Fortran already, so that
should be
enough, I guess.

It is terribly difficult to measure the popularity of programming
languages.
Even agreeing on a definition is virtually or really beyond the
capabilities
of computer scientists, IMHO, especially the popular version of that
profession.

I come from an engineering background and while such languages or
programming environments like Matlab and even Excel seem to be
gaining mindshare (is that the correct word?) Fortran is still going
strong - loads of the facilities offered by Matlab and other higher-
level languages
have been implemented in Fortran or at least so I am told.

I know very little about COBOL except its reputations (both the
good and the bad :)) - I won't comment on it as it is very terra
incognita for me. As far as I know Algol is no longer in use, but I
may
be mistaken. Pascal is strong in certain niches (Delphi comes to
mind).
PL/I seems still to be in use as well - remember that language?

Any survey, especially on the Internet, about language popularity is
bound to be useless because of the haphazard and vague definition
of popularity or the way the researchers have measured that
popularity.

Regards,

Arjen (a fervent user of both Fortran and Tcl who would like to spend
more time to combine the two in new, creative and unexpected ways :)
and who fancies the combination of COBOL and Tcl could provide
interesting new opportunities too)

On May 11, 6:31 am, Arjen Markus <arjen.mar@wldelft.nl> wrote:

PL/I, now there is a voice from the past. It never took off in a
business environment, despite a big push from IBM . I always
categorized it as another professorial playtool.  It is a good
illustration of the principle that "Swiss army knife" languages are
not as useful as more targeted languages. GMH never dissed FORTRAN.
She saw it as having ts place and COBOL its place in the programming
language galaxy. I remember the demo line by a PL/I guy using reserved
words as procedure and variable names:

IF IF THEN THEN ELSE ELSE.

The most recent FORTRAN book in my county's library system is dated in
the 80's.  The most recent book on COBOL is dated in the 90's. A
commmunity college and a 4 year college are included in the search.

One could also search on Amazon for the popular books on each
language.

BTW one of the free versions of COBOL, Tiny COBOL, comes with a demo
that interfaces to Tcl/Tk via a generalized C language routine.
Calling COBOL from Tcl/Tk is no big deal. But using a Tk screen to
feed data back to a COBOL program that controls it is a bit trickier,
hence the C language glue routine. In the modern era the big weakness
of COBOL remains dynamic user interaction. The custodians of the
language have been chasing "nice ot have" features such as object
programming rather then "got to have" features such as standardized
close interaction with a screen. The big strength of COBOL remains
readable and understandable program logic.

Besides it is my native tongue (after English language and Profane
language.)

John Culleton

<snip previous content>

As punishment, I would suggest the task of resolving the questions:
1) which programming language is BEST?
2) which database should be used with the best language?
3) document your reasons.

Well, whaddyaknow?   I invite suggestions for the recombinant use of
instruments of torture and what do I get?    Fervent discussion of
which kind of thumbscrew is *really* best (or most obsolete).

(Shambles off into the sunset muttering about red-hot pokers up the
fundament whilst being drowned in a butt of Malmsey....)

--
Steve Blinkhorn <s@prd.co.uk>

On May 11, 9:42 am, Ray <ray.mos@gmail.com> wrote:

> <snip previous content>

> As punishment, I would suggest the task of resolving the questions:
> 1) which programming language is BEST?
> 2) which database should be used with the best language?
> 3) document your reasons.

In an old science fiction tale the alien from an excessively ugly
world called Moo has a bet with another creature as to who comes from
the most beautiful planet. The dispute is resolved in his favor. the
reason? The word Moo in his language is a synonym for "home."

1. The best programming language for me is COBOL because I have been
using it since 1968 and I know it best.
2. The best database for me is the built-in indexed sequential file
system of COBOL, for the same reason.
3. Well-written (i.e. 1960's style) COBOL is self-documenting, hence
no further documentation is needed.

John C (older than dirt)

On May 11, 2:52 pm, "j@wexfordpress.com" <j@wexfordpress.com>
wrote:

As one who still has a nanosecond from Admiral Grace, you disqualified
yourself from this highly scientific endeavor with the phrase "for
me."   The question is obviously about the language and DB that is
best for all.  "Self-documenting" is in the eye of the beholder.  Go
to your room!

> Any survey, especially on the Internet, about language popularity is
> bound to be useless because of the haphazard and vague definition
> of popularity or the way the researchers have measured that
> popularity.

I wouldn't go so far as 'useless'.  Precise, no, but if you're looking
for a 'general idea', you can get that, especially if you pull
together several different data sources:

http://www.dedasys.com/articles/language_popularity.html

Now I just need to find a day or two to update it:-)

On May 12, 2:17 am, "davidnwel@gmail.com" <davidnwel@gmail.com>
wrote:

> > Any survey, especially on the Internet, about language popularity is
> > bound to be useless because of the haphazard and vague definition
> > of popularity or the way the researchers have measured that
> > popularity.

> I wouldn't go so far as 'useless'.  Precise, no, but if you're looking
> for a 'general idea', you can get that, especially if you pull
> together several different data sources:

> http://www.dedasys.com/articles/language_popularity.html

> Now I just need to find a day or two to update it:-)

What I want to know is, why isn't Tcl/Tk higher up on the list?
Everywhere I go on the internet -- wiki.tcl.tk, comp.lang.tcl, ... --
everybody's talking about Tcl/Tk (heh! heh!)

EKB wrote:
> What I want to know is, why isn't Tcl/Tk higher up on the list?
> Everywhere I go on the internet -- wiki.tcl.tk, comp.lang.tcl, ... --
> everybody's talking about Tcl/Tk (heh! heh!)

I'm a complete Tcl n00b. I mentioned earlier that I was writing a
home-brewed finance package, and decided to try my hand at Tcl. My
little app is getting there! It can reconcile my bank account, and value
my portfolio.

But anyways, I digress. I think the thing that turned me on to the
possibilities of Tcl was:
Tcl the misunderstood -  contains a couple of sections that will have
you drooling to try out Tcl: how you can use Tcl to implement Domain
Specific Languages via its metaprogramming facilities, shows how to
implement a concurrent TCP server in 7 lines, and gives a simple
function that if called as first command in a function will
automagically make it a memoizing version of the function.
http://antirez.com/articoli/tclmisunderstood.html

On May 12, 10:49 pm, Mark Carter <m@privacy.net> wrote:

> EKB wrote:
> > What I want to know is, why isn't Tcl/Tk higher up on the list?

Bad marketing.  And by marketing, I don't just mean 'advertising'.
It's either that or bad tech, and I do not think that is the case -
sure, Tcl has some defects, but so does everything else.

> ...
> But anyways, I digress. I think the thing that turned me on to the
> possibilities of Tcl was:
> Tcl the misunderstood -  contains a couple of sections that will have
> you drooling to try out Tcl: how you can use Tcl to implement Domain
> Specific Languages via its metaprogramming facilities, shows how to
> implement a concurrent TCP server in 7 lines, and gives a simple
> function that if called as first command in a function will
> automagically make it a memoizing version of the function.http://antirez.com/articoli/tclmisunderstood.html

I think Salvatore's article did more to publicize Tcl than ... well,
anyone else has done in a while.
On May 12, 6:19 am, EKB <e@kb-creative.net> wrote:

> What I want to know is, why isn't Tcl/Tk higher up on the list?

Basically, there's lots of people using tcl. However, there isn't a
lot of people writing articles about what they are doing with Tcl that
get submitted to the windows, linux, solaris, etc. magazines. And if
the magazines don't write about the language, new developers don't
hear about the language and older developers looking for solutions to
new problems focus on 'the latest thing'.

Just had a developer recently stop by and asked me about using Ruby.
When I asked why, the response was that even though perl was used
heavily in the past, it just wasn't "a 21st century language", even
with the upcoming major upgrade. And when I mentioned Tcl, he just
shrugged and went on raving marketing technobabble about ruby -
nothing relevant to the task at hand... just lots of vague praises.

In article <1179057290.609303.206@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>,
Larry W. Virden <lvir@gmail.com> wrote:
>On May 12, 6:19 am, EKB <e@kb-creative.net> wrote:
>> What I want to know is, why isn't Tcl/Tk higher up on the list?

>Basically, there's lots of people using tcl. However, there isn't a
>lot of people writing articles about what they are doing with Tcl that
>get submitted to the windows, linux, solaris, etc. magazines. And if
>the magazines don't write about the language, new developers don't
>hear about the language and older developers looking for solutions to
>new problems focus on 'the latest thing'.

                        .
                        .
                        .
... and I talk with a lot of publishers who insist that they
don't want Tcl articles because so few programmers want to
read about "that sort of thing" (old (?), unused (?), ...).
"Vicious cycle" comes to mind.
On May 13, 9:33 am, cla@lairds.us (Cameron Laird) wrote:

And Open Source, or at least free. Too many in the Information Systems
field have this dollar snobbery: if I don't spend lots of money on
upgrades and go through agony when I do a reinstall it can't be worth
anything. And a third world wage slave with a manual and a telephone
is better support than the people who actually create and update the
software.

Those of us who have supervised programmers know that the best of them
would do it for free.  And many who make big bucks still spend nights
and weekends on "fun projects" and lists like these.

John Culleton

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