Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who looks at Smalltalk?

The C guys looked at Smalltalk and said they didn't need object orientation. They could structure their programs just fine.

The C++ guys looked at Smalltalk and thought, actually, the OO stuff is rather cool for building well structured code, but all the rest is just a performance hog, especially garbage collection.

The Java (and later C#) guys looked at Smalltalk and thought, you know, in most cases garbage collection is a really good thing as it saves programmers time and completely avoids common C/C++ malloc/free bugs, and anyway the performance cost is hardly noticeable in most applications, but all the rest of the stuff in Smalltalk is fluff, especially dynamic typing because it's obvious that static type checking will result in much less buggy programs, especially when you use SUnit (which they renamed to JUnit (of course!)) as well.

The Python and Ruby guys looked at Smalltalk and realised that using dynamic types gave them much less brittle systems which could flexibly change and evolve over time. They liked unit testing too (they called theirs something else too), and the ideas of refactoring (that was invented by the Java guys too, right? (not)) were even more powerful in a dynamically typed world ... and if Smalltalk is so good why didn't the Smalltalk people think of something like JUnit and refactoring! All the other stuff in Smalltalk was just fluff, though. For example, who would want to have an image based development environment or have the development tools themselves visible and changeable in that same development environment?


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fix My Street

The BBC have promoted a council run service for reporting street cleaning issues. All well and good, but FixMyStreet has been running for longer and is independent of the person reporting the problem and, critically, the council responsible for fixing the problem. There is very definitely a conflict of interests with the council running the site which is watching the council.

I really wish the council in the BBC story had put the money towards helping to improve FixMyStreet, or just promoting it ... or even just improving their response to issues raised through FixMyStreet.