Hi --

On Wed, 30 Oct 2002, Daniel Berger wrote:

> dblack / candle.superlink.net wrote:
>
> > Hi --
> >
> > On Wed, 30 Oct 2002, Pat Eyler wrote:
> >
> > > http://www.onlamp.com/pub/wlg/2225
> >
> > Interesting.  Simon (hi Simon!) is probably right that "Definitive
> > [library module] names discourage wheel reinvention."  The problem,
> > though, is that such an approach means that whoever writes the *first*
> > module called "XML::Parser" or "Text::Soundex" (or whatever) ends up
> > having written the definitive one, whether it's any good or not.
> >
> > (I guess one could then write and contribute "XML::Parser::Good", but
> > somehow that doesn't entirely address the difficulty :-)
> >
> > David
>
> David,
>
> I think you'll find that people are rather good at policing themselves in
> this regard.  It rarely happens that a definitive name gets used by some
> newbie who doesn't put out quality code.  Even if that situation *does*
> occur, it can be resolved in a few different ways:
>
> 1) A more experienced author requests the name from the original author
> (or offers *lots* of, uh, "patches")
> 2) A similar name is used, or the name is changed and/or slightly to get
> the point across- e.g. Net::SSH (worthless) and Net::SSH::Perl (awesome)

OK... but these seem like solutions and workarounds to a problem which
I'm (abstractly, indefensibly) convinced shouldn't have to arise in
the first place.  Now, if only I could come up with the grand
alternative....

It may be that I draw the line differently from Simon.  Meaning: as
Simon points out, no one would release something called
"Web::Browser", because Web browser-ness is not a singular thing.  It
then becomes a question of where one draws the line between singular
and non-singular things.  I tend to think of XML parsers, for example,
as proliferating, and I tend to think of it as OK that they
proliferate.  And I don't even terribly object to having two or more
text-wrapping/formatting packages written in Ruby.

One sort of meta-question here is the question of categorization.  One
thing I don't like about CPAN and similar archives is the top-level
categories, which divide things into String, Web, Text, Math,
Database, etc. etc....  It may be that this is a necessary evil (well,
"evil" is a bit strong :-) but the divisions are very artificial and I
sometimes wonder whether they have an influence on how people think
about solving programming problems.


David

-- 
David Alan Black
home: dblack / candle.superlink.net
work: blackdav / shu.edu
Web:  http://pirate.shu.edu/~blackdav