|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re^8: Module Announcement: Perl-Critic-1.01 (scalar)by BrowserUk (Pope)
|on Jan 27, 2007 at 03:56 UTC||Need Help??|
Now (on topic), it's difficult for Perl::Critic to recognize the semantic need for that with regard to any single specific Perl function.
And that is the very essence of my aversion to Perl::Critic. You cannot (yet, and probably never) replace the human mind with a set of rules that can be interpreted and applied by a machine.
When PBP was published, we could read it, take the arguements for each guide line on board; and then apply them subject to our own logic, reasons and emotion. For PHBs to enforce a 'Must comply with PBP' edict, they would have to read the book; read every line of code; and then make their arguments subject to both their own and the coders reason.
The existance of Perl::Critic has now puts the tool in the hands of the PHBs to enforce the edict without the intervention of human reason. And that is always a bad thing.
Imagine a world where human beings where unable to apply their reason and discrimination to rules and guide lines.
You're working in one of those huge skyscrapers. A guy steps out of the lavatory having forgotten to zip his fly. He is seen by a cow-orker and that person hits the alarm button. Five or ten thousand people are evacutated to the carpark in the pouring rain for 2 hours whilst the local emergancy service respond to the alarm, verify the safety of the entire building and certify it safe for the workers to reoccupy. Thousands of people get wet; hundreds of customers get frustrated; dozens of companies take substantial financial hits; because no discrimination was applied to the situation.
Ridulous you say. It would never happen. But that is exactly analogous to the absence of a particular RCS markup; the absence of an explicit package statement in a program (as opposed to a module); and 90% of the other 255 guidelines in PBP--when applied without descrimination.
Yes, Perl::Critic can be applied with optional, discriminatory configuration. But if the default is for no discrimination, then it will become the defacto standard. Just as I feared it might when I first saw the module.
There has to be discrimination between those practices that can genuinely lead to errors, bugs, or even simple misunderstandings; and those that are simple preferences--desirable in certain places, at certain times, on certain projects.
The example above is proof by reduction to absurdity, but lets try something a little less absurd. The same scenario, but this time the problem is a laptop who's battery has gone open ciruit and is starting to smoke. You could hit the fire alarm with a similar result to the above. Or, you could walk over, unplug the charger from the mains and flip the battery eject lever. You might also use a pencil to slide the hot battery into an empty metal waste bin.
Is it safe to take the latter course? It depends upon the circumstances--and that's where human reason and discrimination come in.
That might sound like a contrived example, but it's very close to a real life situation, though I only know of it through hearsay. The person chose to take the latter action, with the addition of discharging a CO2 fire extinguisher into the waste bin to cool the battery down. He was formaly rebuked for not setting off the fire alarm and forcing a couple of thousand people from more than a dozen financial services companies from spending a couple of hours in the rain!
Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
"Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.