VisualAggression (Re: Some claims about Erlang

Hal Snyder hal@REDACTED
Tue Apr 12 17:04:59 CEST 2005

flaig@REDACTED writes:

> The problem with students is that they WANT to be commodity building
> blocks. Nowadays people don't go to university because they are
> seeking knowledge, but because they want to be taught which buttons
> to press. (Usually accompanied by calling themselves "pragmatic".) I
> have been teaching molecular biology and bioinformatics for years
> and have just given it up, just because of this attitude. Java and
> VisualBashit are poorly designed but adorned with lots of trashy
> baubles -- imagine a Citroen 2CV with huge spoilers, holographic
> rallye stripes and a horn playing Beethoven's 5th symphony --, and
> that is what attracts people. Logic? Structure? Oh Lord! "We are
> pragmatic, we want to work with our hands, theory is not for us."
> People have even told me that they "could not understand" recursion
> and lambda, so it had to be no good.

> So the gist of this is: If your audience are dummies, because they
> *want to be* dummies, you have to provide them with "XXX for
> dummies". Maybe we should seriously consider producing something
> like VisualErlang, or at least an EBuilder, as an addition to the
> existing Erlang "ecosystem"? I do not have any clear ideas how this
> could work, but it might be worthwhile.
> -- Ruediger Marcus

Interesting points. I taught computer science for over 8 years in
university. Every year, there were a few brilliant, dedicated students
who loved exploring new ideas, a large number of earnest toilers, and
a fair number of pragmatist/philistines who became agitated and even
angry when challenged.

Erlang is effective for me because the language is so close to how I
write requirements. A certain amount of analysis and judgment are
required for competent software design, and IMO no builder tool can

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