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Re: Simplicity vs. Doing It Right

by Anonymous Monk
on Oct 13, 2002 at 18:23 UTC ( #204930=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Simplicity vs. Doing It Right

I absolutely agree. There is a reason why Perl is explicitly designed to allow "baby talk", but that point of view is not well-represented on PM.

The real issue is that there are many different value systems that can reasonably be applied. That is the heart of Worse is Better - worse by one value system is better in another and that confuses the heck of humans who are inclined to think that "worse" and "better" have an absolute meaning. They do not.

The value system in use here is that we value that which makes us more competent programmers. What you noticed us that you get different answers if you value getting the task at hand done. If you value making things easy for those who are not competent and who have no desire to become so, then you get completely opposite answers - Matt Wright becomes a good thing! Of course he is horrible if you care about security or code quality. I am only pointing out why a value system that we dislike can lead to popularity.

A good question to ask is what our value system should be, and how well we satisfy it. I gave what I think it is above, but don't think we do a good job of it. We often prefer to repeat slogans than do the work needed to make them true. For instance we say use CGI or die; - but do we open up the source-code and see that $ENV{CONTENT_LENGTH} is only checked for multi-part post requests? (Bug report submitted.) We say that using standard components is good because people audit it - but do we notice evidence that it isn't all that well audited in practice? We cheer at claims that open source can't have back doors in it. But if I wanted to write my own backdoor I would just write in C and deliberately include a buffer overflow. If someone caught me, who would suspect a thing? How many back doors are on your system right now?

Is what you call "obviously the right thing" necessarily as right as you think? And is Perl designed for the values that you personally hold dear? Really?

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