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[Caml-list] productivity improvement
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Date: 2002-07-16 (20:11)
From: Dave Berry <daveb@t...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: productivity improvement
At 00:13 15/07/2002, Markus Mottl wrote:
>Erlang is very niche-specific (though, fault-tolerant distributed
>computation is surely a worthy niche). I think that Erlang would find
>it tough to compete against OCaml in most other niches

That Erlang is niche-specific is exactly my point -- it's a niche that is
ripe for major productivity improvements, and I can believe a factor of
10:1 for Erlang over traditional languages within that niche.

Other niches are less likely to show such gains, IMO -- even theorem
provers and compilers.  A gain of 10:1 means that you could write in 5
weeks using OCaml what it would take you a year to write in C.  I've used
SML and C/C++ to write compilers, and I didn't see anything like that sort
of improvement.  Even if OCaml is more productive than SML, it still seems
unlikely to me to reach a 10:1 improvement, at least for most people.

I really think you should be careful when trumpeting productivity
improvements. People have seen a lot of hype for various technologies, and
are understandably sceptical.  It's best if you can produce actual figures
(this is hard, of course).

>Visual Basic lives from a wealth of tailor-made libraries and development
>tools for such applications. This is "application development" rather
>than "programming". It's difficult to estimate productivity gains by
>language features as long as libraries/tools do most of the job. You'd
>have to be specific about what you actually want to measure.

I don't think it's worthwhile to distinguish between "languages",
"libraries" and "tools", when considering productivity. 

>Anyway, I'd be really surprised if my average productivity gain using
>OCaml over Java on arbitrary projects were only 2:1. I am pretty sure
>it would be higher than this. Doubling the factor seems quite realistic
>to me.

OK, I'll take that on board.

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