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(Mostly) Functional Design?
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Date: 2005-07-18 (18:16)
From: Alex Baretta <alex@b...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] (Mostly) Functional Design?
Doug Kirk wrote:

Le me quote your message starting with the disclaimer:
> <disclaimer>
> All of the preceding is simply my opinion based upon my own
> observations and experience. It is not intended to incite controversy.
> </disclaimer>

I don't think your message incites controversy. It is a thoughtful
apology of the metapattern of devising, documenting and teaching
canonical solutions to canonical problems. I recognize that this is
actually one of the fundamental ideas in Engineering as a whole.

> In the OO world, it is common now to speak of a design as an 
> application of one or more of the patterns; ...

This I would not like. Design is an eminently "artistic" activity: it
takes creativity. Applying patterns is a parrot's work. One my main
reasons for liking Ocaml is that the "general coding strategies" that
apply are do not produce the vast majority of my locs, but are usually
localizeable in a small bunch of lines in a module. This means that me
job is that of the artist, not that of the parrot. This makes me feel a
little less miserable for being a hacker ;)

> Having a resource such as that *is* a valuable tool that enables 
> novices to raise their level of thinking, and even more so, 
> understanding, of the environment in which they are operating. (The 
> danger of having the resource without experience is pointed out in  the
> rant above...it may be easy for novices to see it as the entire  toolbox.)

It usually takes me a few minutes to explain a single "design strategy"
to a collegue. It takes a few more minutes to show an example. It might
take anywhere between a few minutes to the rest of his/her lifetime to
digest the idea. I wonder if this situation would improve, given
adequate literature and documentation.

> For myself, I've been lurking on this list for awhile, and trying to 
> learn FP practices using Ocaml. Since I have 3 mouths to feed ...

Me too! ;)

> I must 
> spend most of my time doing work that clients are willing to pay 
> for...the last 9 years that means Java.

The problem is not so much the lack of documentation, but the lack of
customers. The year of our lord 2005 is a very sad year for the IT
business, at least in Italy.


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