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Re: program design language - a reality?

by SilverB1rd (Scribe)
on Feb 20, 2001 at 10:27 UTC ( #59596=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to program design language - a reality?

I don't think Microsoft uses it ;)

I do know that languages are out there that are vary like spoken languages. At my work they use a 4GL(4th generation language) called "Progress" and it reads almost like english.

I'm just the web guy so I don't get to use it though :(
  • Comment on Re: program design language - a reality?

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Re: Re: program design language - a reality?
by eduardo (Curate) on Feb 20, 2001 at 10:34 UTC
    Time to get --'d....

    I've used progress... I've worked in a progress shop. I wrote Perl in this shop. Progress is painful. Writing *simple* things in progress are hard, writing hard things are impossible. The 4GL and the DB are tied together so tightly. The DB is *slow* and underpowered, it just now has set logic, as it previously was record logic. I would program in Perl and hit a MySQL DB box about 95,000 dollars cheaper than their transaction server with a 24 hour old dump of the Progress DB imported into a MySQL schema. The OLAP queries I wrote would have taken hours to execute on Progress took minutes or seconds on MySQL. It's late, and this comment makes very little sense, however listen to this bit of advice. 4GL's like Progress and even to a degree even things like COBOL were designed so that "executives" could read a program and understand what it did. We have since found, in programming language research, that is not neccesseraly what you want out of a programming language.

    If you want to describe a problem and a program, use UML. Use visual modeling tools. Use stories. Use use-cases. Use state diagrams. Don't bother with meta-languages. I ain't found a good one yet.

    The extremely tired and cranky ed...
      While eduardo may be a little cranky, it is not without good reason. There is no reason why Perl, C, or even assembly code cannot be programmed in such a fashion that it works as intended, is readable, and is maintainable by someone other than the original author. You don't need a "magic bullet" like PDL to make it happen.

      PDL may have its utility in specific situations, such as desigining a 50 million lines-of-code nuclear missile launcher network operating system, but then you will recall that even PDL developed applications are not without the fundamental element of human error (i.e. the "Y2K" problem).

      Perl, in fact, has it's own built in English meta-language that can make the program easy to read, even for the "manager" types.

      They're called comments.
        I have to disagree on several items.

        First of all, it does not seem that you understand that PDL is a coding construction technique, not a software design methodology. I would not recommend diving into a 50 million line program armed only with PDL. OTOH it can be marvelous for helping organize your thinking when writing a couple of hundred lines of code, whether those hundreds of lines are a stand-alone project, or a component within a 50 million line program.

        Secondly I firmly believe that it is a mistake to think that comments are a substitute for readable code. I am not saying that you think this, but I feel I should point it out anyways.

        In fact in my experience quite the opposite is true. I have seen well-meaning people reduce simple, straightforward code to utter incomprehensibility through excessive commenting. The result is about as readable as a legal document, for about the same reason.

        Don't get me wrong, comments used wisely will usefully augment readable code. However they are not a substitute for readable code, and having comments that literally parellel code is a Bad Idea in my books.

        Perl, in fact, has it's own built in English meta-language that can make the program easy to read, even for the "manager" types. They're called comments.

        Actually, whereas almost all programming languages support comments, Perl goes one step better by having POD.

        Embedded documentation is even better than embedded comments!

        Tony

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