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Comment Javascript and Hacker News (Score 1) 417

Don't let Javascript and Hacker News fool you. Hacker News is predominantly a hang out for the functional programming crowd. This is a self selective audience. If you are not interested in functional programming then there is not a lot of content on Hacker News for developers.

Javascript is a bloody mess, especially with the Nodejs. A bloody mess is not functional programming. For/while loops are for more prevalent in Javascript then functional programming. At issue is all the callbacks for async event handling. Javascript is very poorly designed software because unless your async code is wrapped in monitors it is not proper async code. Promises? Pick up any programming text book on async programming and it will always teach you to wrap your async code in monitors/semaphores/locks.

Comment Science not heresay (Score 1) 417

CS61A, or Introduction to Programming, is a flunk out/weed out class at UC Berkeley. It is taught in LISP and is functional programming. Why? Functional programming runs counter to the way the majority of people think. Science says that functional programming is demotivating for the general population. So, what do you do if you have way more students interested in Computer Science than you have slots available? Easy, just make them pass a functional programming course.

CS61A is the only mandatory functional programming course at Berkeley. All other courses are in Java, C/C++, Python etc.

The only question one needs to ask about a computer language is this: can the language exercise the full functionality of the target computer? If the answer is yes then all such languages are interchangeable and logically equivalent.

Since scientifically speaking most people think in for/while loops and not function calls then procedural programming is the most common.

What have we learned?

  1. A. If a language can exercise the full capability of the target computer than it is synonymous with any other such language in capability.
  2. B. Science has shown people are far more motivated by procedural programming than functional. For and while loops are more natural to how the mind works. Most people find functional programming an unnatural way to think and therefore do not like it.

Comment Re:As with all headlines that pose a question... (Score 1) 286

Also, why does it matter? Tools are not a popularity contest. Pick the right tool for the job. Haskell has found a niche in MQ and async communication. Okay then. The only discussion on this topic that is relevant is about the applicability of a tool.

For example, NodeJS is crap. The crap though has nothing to do with the language "Javascript" but the server-side implementation of NodeJS.

Or PHP. PHP's security model has always been suspect more than that of other languages and yet is a one of the most widely used web platform languages. Again, not the syntax, the PHP interpreter.

Those or the pertinent discussions. Popularity is for pop culture, not engineering.

Comment Chicken & The Egg Problem (Score 1) 252

This does seem to be a chicken and the egg problem. Which came first: literary critics ignoring science fiction or science fiction ignoring literary critics? As Gordon Dickinson said in Dorsai!, "I respect those people's opinions whose opinions I respect." Or perhaps you prefer the more poignant Piers Anthony version in Xanth, "Worthless people's opinion are worthless."

I think the science fiction readers and the literary critics have a mutual appreciation of ignoring the other.

The snobbery and the hubris of literature is best represented by William Shakespeare. Harold Bloom went on PBS with Charlie Rose and exclaimed that Shakespeare was the most moral person ever. He also said the bard was the most prophetic about human nature, the future of mankind will always be predicted by Shakespeare. So there you have it. Shakespeare has the 411, has the goods, on human nature. Science fiction is an affront speculating on human nature to literary critic sensibilities fixed on William Shakespeare being the end all be all. The likes of Harold Bloom look down on those of us who exclaim, "Everything I learned about life I learned from Star Trek."

Literature is just William Shakespeare worship.

As for me? I found Shakespeare to be morally bankrupt and human nature decrepit. The world is not a broken record on some endless skipping loop, which is the sum total of all of Shakespeare wisdom.

My own personal credo comes from Frank Herbert's, "The God Makers":

Which is better?
A good eye,
A good neighbor,
A good wife,
Or the understanding of consequences?

It is none of these. But rather being a warm and sensitive person that understands the price of individual dignity and the worth of human fellowship. This is best.

Comment Leave your educated opinions in the comments... (Score 1) 222

"I've built more than a few static websites (I use Sublime Text 3 or Atom, not some fancy-pants WYSIWYG doohickey) and am quite familiar with CSS, but databases not so much. "

Are you the only one involved?

There is HTML, Javascript, PHP, Java, Python, XML, SQL and a whole mess of other technology that is involved with web site programming.

As a consultant I get asked this kinda quick question on a regular basis. There is no quick answer to this. The general answer is to take the time to understand the requirements, understand the technology, understand the tradeoffs, understand the staffing, understand the testing, understand security and then do a bake off of at least three solutions. If you are upgrading looking to scale out then does management really understand the financial commitment needed to replace and grow?

Be a job little or small, do it right or not at all. Too many people are glib these days about the complexity of software applications and as such get themselves in a whole lot of trouble in the long run.

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