Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Solutions in search of a problem

It seems that the creator of Eiffel (a programming language) has decided (after a very long time) to open source their IDE for it.

Never heard of Eiffel? I’m not surprised. It was a clunky, unforgiving “you must do things my way” language that lost out to C++.

This news got posted to Slashdot. Many people immediately started praising the language (even those who admitted that they have never used it). And then the “If you want to try something really cool, you need to try [insert language here]”

I swear that all of these people are doing the old “I have a solution in search of a problem” dance. This is something that annoys the living daylights out of me. Do you have so little to do that you feel the need to go “my toy is better than your toy”?

Some languages have real use and are widely used out there in the world. C and C++ for when you need to be pretty close to the metal. Assembly for when you need to be REALLY close to the metal (or feel like giving yourself a headache). Ruby, Perl, etc for when you want to script out things or work really fast. Java or C# for various stuff. PHP, ASP, Rails, etc etc etc if you want to have web stuff.

Even *shudder* Lisp for when you want to get things done and/or give yourself an aneurism (I can’t believe I spelled that properly) while dealing with an almost entirely recursive language.

No, this was not a complete list, and I realize that. I was just making a point.

The point is that if your language does something new and useful (or even just a LOT better than the other option out there), great. Let us know. We might give it a shot. However, don’t get bent out of shape if we tell you we’re not interested afterward and PLEASE for the love of anything worthy of love do not show us some “I took [language] and added [feature] and now I want to call it [new name]. You all need to use this now” crap.

We’re likely to bash you over the head with vi (or your editor of choice) and replace you with a very small shell script. Let’s face it – we’d get more use out of the shell script than your pontificating about dead/dying languages. And we can always route the output for the shell script to /dev/null

Why the obsessions with the also-rans? They tried. They failed. Almost nobody uses them.

Almost nobody uses them for a reason. Just let it go.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Everclear – When it all goes wrong again

No comments: