[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: another take on hackers and painters

On Dienstag, Mai 20, 2003, at 04:22  Uhr, Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:

> People who criticize static typing should annotate their offering with
> an indication of how much ML they have written.  That would make them
> far more credible.

There are some deep problems involved in this statement.

+ If personal experience is the right measure for evaluating the 
usefulness of language features we don't have any ground to discuss 
these things. Your experience might be totally different from mine so 
why bother?

+ If personal experience is not the right measure then the whole 
computer science community sucks very badly. Where are the empirical 
studies that try to assess whether features like static typing have an 
actual positive effect in practice? There are several questions that 
need to be answered:

- Under what circumstances do static/dynamic type systems provide their 
respective advantages?

- Does this depend on the kind of applications?

- Does this depend on the kind of programmers?

- Can programmers be trained to successfully adopt one or the other 

- Do such isolated features depend on other features of a language? 
Perhaps it doesn't make sense to talk about "static typing" / "dynamic 
typing" as isolated features.

- Are the kinds of bugs that are covered by static type systems 
typical/serious bugs in practice? Under what circumstances?

- Do the kinds of freedoms that are provided by dynamic type systems 
reflect typical/important needs in practice? Under what circumstances?

- What kind of programs look unnatural with certain static type systems?

- What kind of programmers become too lazy with certain dynamic type 

Unless we have some strong empirical data in these respects, we are 
mostly left to our own subjective tastes. (This might be a good thing!)


P.S.: Shriram, I hope it's clear that I am not speifically attacking 
your position.