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Re: why tail recursion matters and why Java isn't it, was Re: lisp performance was Re: problems with lisp

   Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2003 20:08:01 +0200
   From: Pascal Costanza <costanza@iai.uni-bonn.de>
   To: Matthias Felleisen <matthias@ccs.neu.edu>
   Cc: ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
   It's important to note two things here:
   + Aesthetics are important. A beautiful program is easier to maintain 
   and debug and so forth.
   + Aesthetics are a matter of taste. I don't think you can really argue 
   for one or another aesthetic category. You either believe in one or another.

Actually, these two points contradict one another to some extent.

If aesthetics are so important that they can affect productivity,
then they are not simply a matter of taste.  But if by "a matter of
taste" you mean that what leads to greater productivity may differ
from one programmer to another, then that is an objective matter that
is in principle subject to measurement, and one can furthermore ask
other questions, such as: if one were to choose a single aesthetic
category and force everyone to use it, which choice of category
would maximize total productivity?  Or, if we can afford to support
at most three aesthetic categories, which set of at most three
would maximize totla productivity?

--Guy Steele