[erlang-questions] Erlang web servers challenge

Garrett Smith g@REDACTED
Mon Jul 11 17:54:56 CEST 2011

On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM, Richard O'Keefe <ok@REDACTED> wrote:
> 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.

Do the students have a consistent background - e.g. a common intro course?

E.g. if schools are teaching programming using Java, I could see an
IDE culture emerging. Considering the huge amount of pointless code
that Java requires you to write, I can't really blame students for
getting hooked on visual aids. Other languages may apply.

My uni used Pascal, which isn't as onerous to write and read as Java.
But we had debuggers and someone somewhere encouraged me to routinely
use the debugger to step through code to "reason about it".

Since then I've found functional languages better suited to this process.

Is the answer, "I have no idea what's wrong here -- let me step
through the code" more a product of imperative languages than to


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