[erlang-questions] "Erlang as a First Language" -- crazy? or just stupid?

Illo de' Illis <>
Fri Dec 25 01:56:05 CET 2009


On Dec 24, 2009, at 6:40 PM, Toby Thain wrote:
[...]
> Mostly, I learned C without a computer to run it on. Just a copy of K&R. I still don't use source level debuggers, 24 years later.
> [...]
> And if you learn by, and become accustomed to, source level debugging, would you not atrophy skills such as auditing code by eye and reasoning about it statically, and become tool reliant?
> 
> That's OK, I guess - it's just a different work style.

Glad to see my thoughts shared by someone else. I've worked on big projects for almost every existing platform (OS/400, MVS, HOST, Plan9 ...) coding on a plethora of languages with lots of different screen-oriented editors (seu, sam, mostly vim on *nix derivatives, no syntax highlighting whatsoever), and I've found my lack of dependence on external tools such as context-sensitive editors, IDEs, RADs and source debuggers to be definitely positive.
I'm unquestionably not a genius, but I can look at a source and spot the bug most often than not, and I believe it should be a featured shared by every programmer.
I also agree with a previous poster on the fact that IDEs and RADs are (unless complex UIs are involved) mostly the consequence of syntactically confusing programming languages with lots of incoherently long-named library functions. What I often see is programmers who keep on coding mostly by using cut&paste and function/prototype completion, and debug on a bovine trial-and-error basis with their powerful debuggers. After one year this way they still cannot remember most of the functions they regularly use, which is sad. 

Ciao,
Illo.

PS: I'm somewhat fanatical, but I believe function/arguments completion to be the root of all evil -- even if I couldn't do without it when programming with laughably-long-constructs-based languages.


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