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Re: Productivity and Perl

by vladb (Vicar)
on Jun 01, 2002 at 21:30 UTC ( #170939=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Productivity and Perl

++ An interesting post and equally interesting article, Ovid.

I certainly agree that Perl is one of only a few excellent tools for productivity. There's a lot of applications out there that could be done easier in Perl and in shorter time span. Take, for example, all the data munching job that Perl can perform. Yes, I also love Perl for it's elegant style. Some could manage to turn their code into a pure noise nightmare, but in my view if approached carefully and with due respect, Perl can turn into a very powerful, yet pleasing (to the eye ;) and easy to use tool.

"Paul Graham points out that if another language requires 3 times as much code, coding a similar feature will take three times as long. Actually, I think he's mistaken here. Development time, IMHO, does not scale linearly with the size of the program. "

Hmmm, this makes me think hard about the credibility of that individual. His statement is all but plain wrong! Siding with you, I too believe that there's more of an exponential dependancy there. The more lines of code that I have to write, the more there's that I'll have to debug, fix, and maintain. Also, it would be harder to add new functionality if the code is huge. In numerous instances, a piece of Perl code that is as much as 10 times smaller can perform exactly same duties as a code in Java or C/C++. I don't make it up as I indeed saw it with my own pair of yes ;-).

UPDATE: hsmyers hmm, certainly he's not 'completely' wrong. However, as Ovid already mentioned, there's more to it than just a linear dependency. My point is only that the time it takes to write N lines of code is N to some power (greater than 1 at least ;). Althought, I don't have hard figures to support this claim (argh, it still complies with common logic actually), I have spent a number of years coding and this is what my experience tells me. As to whom to blame (this may be a too harsh word...), I now believe Fred, and Paul only to an extent that he 'quoted' a poor assumption. In any event, everyone should be entitled to his/her own opinion. Thus I conclude my argument ;)

If your program would be three times as long in another language, it will take three times as long to write-- and you can't get around this

Again, my point is the ratio shouldn't be 3/3 ;o)

$"=q;grep;;$,=q"grep";for(`find . -name ".saves*~"`){s;$/;;;/(.*-(\d+) +-.*)$/; $_=["ps -e -o pid | "," $2 | "," -v "," "];`@$_`?{print"+ $1"}:{print" +- $1"}&&`rm $1`; print$\;}

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Re: Re: Productivity and Perl
by hsmyers (Canon) on Jun 01, 2002 at 22:32 UTC

    To be fair to Paul, here is a bit more of the context:

    Code size is important, because the time it takes to write a program depends mostly on its length. If your program would be three times as long in another language, it will take three times as long to write-- and you can't get around this by hiring more people, because beyond a certain size new hires are actually a net lose. Fred Brooks described this phenomenon in his famous book The Mythical Man-Month, and everything I've seen has tended to confirm what he said
    So which credibility are you doubting, Paul's or Fred's?


    "Never try to teach a pig to sing…it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."
Re^2: Productivity and Perl
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Jun 02, 2002 at 02:15 UTC
    His credibility is in no danger at all as far as I'm concerned. That is mostly a throw-in sentence. Think of the second part as it will take [at least] three times and be done with it. The main point he is making, I believe, is that hiring extra programmers does not counterbalance the use of ineffective tools. Whether the relation of code size and development time is linear or exponential is only of secondary importance to that statement.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

(MeowChow) Re2: Productivity and Perl
by MeowChow (Vicar) on Jun 02, 2002 at 06:39 UTC
    Take, for example, all the data munching job that Perl can perform.

    chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp;

                   s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print

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