[erlang-questions] Erlang web servers challenge

Banibrata Dutta banibrata.dutta@REDACTED
Mon Jul 11 14:39:34 CEST 2011

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 8:49 AM, OvermindDL1 <overminddl1@REDACTED> wrote:

> I hope that is a joke.  I inhaled 1200 page manuals like popcorn when I was
> a student 20 years ago, and still do to this day.  I *hope* that being lazy
> is their only problem.  Yeesh...
There are people who can do cross-country, then some who can do only sprints
and the rest just love to watch it as a spectator sports (worst case, on
TV). Devouring (or inhaling) 1200 page manual, are characteristics of a
really gifted stud-reader. Our profession has a huge number of engineers who
are definitely above average (as per some standard :-) ) but not as gifted.
I am afraid, if you let them devour the 1200 page manual over a year, they
might still not have gone past the first 120pages or so.

Reading through 1200 pages, and retaining everything requires not only the
gift of amazing retention, but that of focus, patience and resolve. Being
one of the lesser mortals, I still yearn for precooked information in form
of easy-to-grasp video tutorials, which is why I dug Kevin Smith's "Erlang
in Practise" so much.

Also, there is a difference in approach. I know quite a few very good (I'd
say much better / smarter than me) engineers, who refer to the manual (or
reference material) "Just in Time". Given so much happening around, so much
to see, so much to learn, often times, it works. However, I do agree, that
when it comes to academic rigour, it is probabaly a general observation that
Gen-X has it easier than Gen-Y, although not always.

> On Jul 10, 2011 7:33 PM, "Richard O'Keefe" <ok@REDACTED> wrote:
> >
> > On 9/07/2011, at 2:44 AM, Ulf Wiger wrote:
> >> Having said this, I invite anyone who goes through that kind of exercise
> to share their results. Not only will it help you evaluate the experiment
> honestly; it will increase the store of experiments that can be copied and
> tailored to the specific challenges of the next project.
> >
> > I had an unpleasant experimental experience of my own last year.
> > Let me first give you the lesson I learned, and then the background.
> >
> > LESSON: Expect your experiment to surprise you,
> > probably by showing the experiment was a waste of time.
> >
> > Background: I'm sick of arguments about style. To my mind, it is so
> > obvious that baStudlyCaps isAVeryStupidWayToWriteIndeed and I
> > cannotUnderstandWhyOtherPeopleDoNotSeeThat. But they don't. My zeroth,
> > the New Zealand Anglican Church has even brought out an electronic
> > version of the liturgy called WePray, in a desperate attempt to seem
> > hip. (Since it is only available for an operating system sold by what
> > may be the largest software company to have been convicted to software
> > piracy, I wonder what their ethics committee were doing. But I digress.)
> >
> > So I devised a little language called Chatterton
> > (http://www.cs.otago.ac.nz/cosc345/chatterton.pdf),
> > which allowed me to mechanically produce several style variants of
> > some sample programs and ask some 3rd year software engineering students
> > to find some mistakes in them.
> >
> > What I expected was one of three things:
> > - no measurable effect
> > - more readable code (i.e., NOT baStudlyCaps) being easier to fix
> > - more familiar (i.e., JustLikeXingJava) being easier to fix.
> >
> > What I *got* was students telling me they couldn't read code on
> > paper; they needed syntax-colouring IDEs (the listings all fitted
> > on a single sheet of paper and used black-and-white styling) and
> > ideally a debugger so they could find mistakes by stepping through
> > the code. I also got students telling me that it was horribly
> > unreasonable of me to expect them to read a 30-page manual; NOBODY
> > could read that much. And finding a definition of an identifier
> > in a 2-page listing is just beyond human capacity; it's impossible
> > to do that without the machine assistance of an IDE.
> >
> > So the whole experiment produced no worthwhile data for reasons having
> > nothing to do with what I thought I was testing.
> >
> > As other people have been saying, the "Erlang web servers challenge"
> > is at serious risk of producing no worthwhile data.
> >
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