Poll: Packages use

Dominic Williams erlang-list@REDACTED
Fri Mar 11 22:32:28 CET 2005

Vlad Dumitrescu wrote:

>* How many people use packages in their
>  applications?

Not me.

> * How many people plan to start using packages in 6
>   months to one year from 
>   now?

Not me. My experience from other languages makes me reject 
the feature a priori. The whole concept of packages is 
conceptually flawed, IMO.

1) In order to avoid potential name clashes, which are in 
fact very rare, they pollute the code all the time. Far from 
encouraging longer, meaningful names, you still get short, 
cryptic names, but at the end of a long string of package 
names which usually have nothing to do with the design.

2) They just reduce the probability of a name clash, but 
these are still possible. So we still need a mecanism to 
resolve clashes.

3) Module names and distribution of functions among modules 
need to evolve over time, as the design evolves, so we need 
refactoring tools to easily rename modules throughout the code.

4) package implementations tend (as in Java and Erlang) to 
tie the code down to the file structure, whereas I am 
interested in going in the opposite direction (no files).

What I want, and hope to provide some day is:

1) refactoring tools to facilitate renaming my own modules
2) an Eiffel-like facility to use, within my own code, third 
party modules /under a different name/, to resolve clashes 
when they actually occur.

And yes, I am aware that in Erlang modules can be called 
using names that are computed at runtime, but that doesn't 
seem too huge an obstacle.


Dominic Williams

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