On Fri, 28 Jan 2005, James Britt wrote:

> PA wrote:
>> 
>> In other words, an implementation language of any sort is not a silver 
>> bullet of any sort.
>> 
>> After all, blaming or praising a language for your own success or failure 
>> would be equivalent to a writer blaming its pen for "writer's block".
>
> But each can have significant influence.  If you are trying to write 
> something out in longhand , and your pen weighs 700 pounds, it will take a

You don't need a 700 pound pen for this analogy:  There has been a
progression in writing systems that could possibly be said to
parallel the progression in programming systems:
    Cunaeform, Hyeroglyphics and other systems of marking clay.
         [direct machine code input]
    Quills, and possibly dip pens with wet ink.
         [Assemblers -- one can instruct someone to "carve this"]
    Ballpoint pens, pencils
    typewriters
         [compilers, interpreters -- the process is that much easier]
    Wordprocessors.
         [Code generators? Refactoring tools?]

These have affected how people write as well...

> little longer to complete, and you will be a little less likely to explore 
> possibilities that don't show immediate payoff. You may also be less likely

Ballpoints and pencils facilitate making notes anywhere.
The typewriter sped up writing legibly considerably.

> to go revise earlier work, and may be more willing to settle for a 
> less-than-ideal end result.

This last point is interesting: being able to churn out fiction can,
it is sometimes argued, allow people to produce lots of lower
quality work than if they have to rework parts. I'm not sure how one
applies that point to programming though, but maybe we are still at
the typewriter stage.  Is there any evidence that refactoring
browsers allow people to "leave quality till later" and never get
back to fix it?  There are other factors at work though, not just
the tools: time pressure for one.

The above should be taken with a bucket of salt, I've no substance
to support this analogy, so it may be worthless.

>
>
> James
>

         Hugh