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Re: [xsl] Keys with duplicates should be simple

Subject: Re: [xsl] Keys with duplicates should be simple
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 14:36:12 -0500


On Sat, Feb 1, 2014 at 11:05 PM, Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Some see a programming language purely as a means of getting things
> done thus are willing to "play computer" if a programming language or
> language feature requires them to.
> I like to think of a programming language as a means of expressing
> ideas. That is why for me - the spec said so is not by itself a good
> enough answer.
>  I reject/avoid languages and features whose implementation doesn't
> give me a sufficiently proximate representation (and thats a personal
> judgement) of the idea I am expressing. That would include things that
> require me to suspend how I think a humane would normally parse an
> expression in order to conform with the way the language implements it
>  - which is a more elaborate way of saying languages and features that
> require me to play computer.

Generally speaking and in principle, I agree with you entirely.

Yet at the same time, I regard the design of programming languages as
one of the more formidable intellectual challenges one can undertake
-- not because it's so hard to do, but because it's so hard to do

At the same time, my experience suggests to me that the range of ways
people might "normally" parse an expression is very broad. People are
just incredibly creative and adaptive. So I try not to focus on what I
consider warts and weaknesses in detail (while not ignoring them
altogether), so much as on a coherent and consistent rationale for the
whole. Seeing weaknesses in a context that includes strengths makes
them somewhat easier to live with.

So while I agree with you on the whole, I also make an exception for
'except'. It just isn't that bad. Indeed, there is an entire
profession of people (I think they're called 'mathematicians') who
consider such verbal stunt work to be just a day at the office.

Cheers, Wendell

Wendell Piez | http://www.wendellpiez.com
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