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"Yellow Pages"

by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor)
on Jun 07, 2012 at 14:00 UTC ( #974959=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I have recently begun re-reading Dynamics of Software Development, by Jim McCarthy, part of the Software Engineering Classics series by Microsoft Press (ISBN: 0-7356-0597-1) and as far as I know sold only as a part of that set.

This is what I call a “Yellow Pages” book.   It’s one of those rare pieces where you tend to read every page more than once, slowly.   It’s one of those books where you keep the yellow highlighter put away, because you know that if you didn’t do that, every page would be “mostly yellow.”   Hence the name.

Tip:   Don’t have this boxed-set yet?   Get it.   Read it through.   Slowly.

All of which really gets me thinking about PerlMonks.

This book Every book in this series is “great writing.”   It’s great because it’s born of experience ... many decades of it ... and because the fruit of that experience is “a tale well-told.”   Well, when we write on an on-line forum like this one, we’re writing, too.   And, while newbees come and go here as everywhere, there’s a long-standing core of us here, who’ve been here for a very long time, and we have “decades of experience” too.   And, “we’re writing too.”

In fact, we’re writing every day.   Sometimes a quip, sometimes a rant, sometimes irrelevant, and sometimes, yes sometimes, a keen observation that pokes like a crystal beam of light through that fog of confusion that settles upon every one of us from time to time.   What we maybe tend to forget is that we are writing for posterity, not just for the moment.   We are constructing a lasting and sometimes definitive body of knowledge here.   (One of the best ones, actually, IMHO.)   The nature of that body of knowledge, furthermore, is that it is accessed and therefore discovered by means of keyword search.   We should write well.   We should strive to create our own Yellow Pages, and to create the same color in this site.

Comment on "Yellow Pages"
Re: "Yellow Pages"
by ww (Bishop) on Jun 07, 2012 at 14:15 UTC
Re: "Yellow Pages"
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jun 07, 2012 at 14:18 UTC
    What we maybe tend to forget is that we are writing for posterity, not just for the moment.

    Ah hem, I think you should get over your ego. The way things change so fast, with new technology replacing old, most of the stuff written nowadays will be useless in a few years, replaced by Perl42 or whatever. If you can help someone with their current code problem, that is great, but don't be so starry eyed to think that any of us will be remembered 20 or 30 years from now. The only thing that is certain, is change itself.


    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
    Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh

      I respectfully disagree, and I think sundialsvc4 has a good (if not exactly novel) point.

      most of the stuff written nowadays will be useless in a few years

      I see people still getting good use out of nodes written 10-12 years ago. "Posterity" is relative. To suppose that people won't find nodes written today useful in 5 years is more preposterous than not.

      replaced by Perl42 or whatever

      Perl 6 has been almost a reality for ... 10 years? Who knows how many more Christmases? And they're always telling us, Don't worry, Perl 6 will not replace Perl 5. Your Perl 5 programs will continue to run; Perl 5 will continue to be maintained; you can still write Perl 5 if you want to.

      And the Perl 5 content of this site will continue to be relevant.

      to think that any of us will be remembered

      The OP was talking about the content we write here, not about us. Who's got the ego?

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.
        Who's got the ego?

        I respectfully believe it's sundialsvc4 thats got it. :-) My comment was just made to throw some realistic light on the fact that what we write and what we do is really pretty insignificant in terms of the passage of Time and history. Where is Cobol now? Visual Basic? Basic? Pascal?

        Even the title "Yellow Pages" makes my point. Where are the old reliable Yellow Pages we all knew in our youth? They now are either obsolete, useless, or converted to online versions which even itself is threatened by conventional search engines like Google.

        When I was young, I fully expected the Yellow Pages to be around forever, and now it's just a relic of history. Did I expect Google to come along? Never saw it coming.


        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
        Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh

        In a vacuum, the OP's point would be valid, though (as jdporter said), not exactly novel. Anything you write may survive for the ages and continue to be helpful (or harmful) far longer than you expected. Google Groups has Usenet posts of mine back to 1995, including some I'm proud of and some that would make me wince. On the other hand, many online forums to which I've contributed have disappeared entirely or lost all their data in crashes at least once. So you never know.

        However, this post doesn't exist in a vacuum, and in the context of the other recent thread about enemies and personal down-voting, it comes off (in my opinion) as an alternate way to say, "Be nicer (to me)," by adding, "because your words may be remembered for a long time."

        Aaron B.
        Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

      I must disagree. One of my contracts last year was writing new code in IBM System 370 Assembler, a language I learned almost forty years ago. The interface documents I worked from were "copyright IBM Corp., 1960". I got the contract because I did remember the difference between a BALR instruction and BASR....

      "The more Things change, the more Things stay the same"? Not quite -- But I did use a fifty year old language and a thirty year old Debugger to implement an Agile based Test Oriented Development Process and delivered a subroutine library that plugs into an IPv6 enabled Network Monitor on hardware the Gene Amdahl would have felt comfortable with...

      "Those who forget History are doomed to repeat it" -- Santayana

      ----
      I Go Back to Sleep, Now.

      OGB

        Well I hope you are right; as I would love it if Tk and Perl5 was still going strong 40 years from now, and all my postings were studied for useful techniques. Just somehow I doubt it. :-)

        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
        Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
Re: "Yellow Pages"
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 07, 2012 at 17:25 UTC

    What we maybe tend to forget is that we are writing for posterity, not just for the moment.

    If you're writing for posterity, you most likely need to not publish that junk, its probably off topic.

      The objective reality is that each author chooses his/her audience, whether consciously or not. Clearly, some nodes are written to be timeless. (Alas, most of the authors of such nodes seem to have moved on to happier hunting grounds.) But most content is clearly ephemeral, and not expected to be otherwise. I think it's a strength of this site that it supports and encourages both (and other) modes of discourse.

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

        The objective reality is that each author chooses his/her audience ...

        The truth of the truism is self evident in the obviousness of its self evidentness.

        *sigh* yeah, I guess you're going to have to make me come out and say it again.

        When someone posts in SOPW asking a question, with code and data and everything, they want help with their problem, not a snowjob-meditation for posterity -- point in case Re: Sorting Hashes of hashes.

        Stop trolling people trying to write code, Meditations is that way.

Re: "Yellow Pages"
by sundialsvc4 (Monsignor) on Jun 08, 2012 at 14:05 UTC

    All that I know, and all that therefore I can possibly express, is what I know from my own [decades of...] personal experience.   I find that I do search-for and carefully refer-to postings and comments that were written many years ago, finding them to still be very-much relevant.

    Certainly, while the “here’s a piece of Perl code that you can cut-n-paste” postings are useful to the newbees to whom they are primarily addressed, the rest of us can of course knock those things off in our sleep.   Hence, they have fairly short-term value because, if you know how to write Perl source-code, you don’t particularly need to see that someone else does, too.   Other code fragments, of course, are simply illustrations.   No, the sort of posts that have long-term value to me are the sort of ones that I myself attempt to write:   the ones where people discuss solutions and issues that are less of a tactical and more of a strategic nature.   i.e. Given that you already know the base machinations of the language itself, and perhaps even given that you might be tackling a thorny problem using more than one language at a time, you seek a “sounding board” for the underlying issues and trade-offs.   You seek the counsel of your esteemed peers, genuinely holding them and their opinions in esteem.   You find those things here also at PerlMonks.   I of course certainly do not mean to imply that the other sort of postings are without value, nor to besmirch anyone at all because we all started in the same place (and wind up there again, periodically).   That’s the beauty and the value of a free-and-open forum.   You write what you want when you want to ... and in so doing, you build up quite a massive knowledge-base that keeps people coming back for more.   Every technical forum does that ... and I think that PerlMonks is one of the best.

    As an aside, people continue to bring up “Perl++” as though the notion of “a purported successor-language that didn’t manage to ship before it became irrelevant” was a new happening.   It isn’t.   In any case, every user of a language looks forward to a better-future tool that never actually makes an impact, such as e.g. the various efforts affectionately known as:   ADD 1 TO COBOL GIVING COBOL ON SIZE ERROR NEXT SENTENCE.   In the end, you dance with the one that brung ’ya, and you make a pretty okay living doing that.

    e.g.

      the rest of us can of course knock those things off in our sleep.

      Prove it! Cos I don't believe you.

      I think there is a good reason why you've never posted a code solution here. Because if you did, your elaborate cover of bullshit and hyperbole would be blown.

      You're a wanna-be. Nothing more; nothing less.

        Or to put it another way, with apologies to Homer Simpson: "Less yackin', more hackin'."

        Aaron B.
        Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

        So. All copies of The Art of War can be scrapped because anyone can pick up a sword.

        Someone needs a logic gate.

        thanks sundialsvc4 for this reading suggestion

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