[Haskell-cafe] Re: Top Level TWI's again was Re: [Haskell] Re: Parameterized Show

Graham Klyne gk at ninebynine.org
Tue Nov 23 10:35:32 EST 2004

At 10:02 23/11/04 +0000, you wrote:
>Off topic, but interesting,

Sure... that's why its in 'cafe, right?

>Someone else keeps quoting this at me... I prefer Knuth - paraphrased as I 
>cant remember the quote - The best software projects are the ones where 
>the source code has been lost about half way through the development and 
>started from scratch.

>The point is programmers start by exploring a problem space without 
>understanding it. Poor programmers just accept the first solution they put 
>down. Good programmers re-implement. Great programmers have a sixth sense 
>of when things are about to get ugly, and start again (and the better you 
>are the less you actually have to implement before you realise things can 
>be refactored for the better)...
>Graham Klyne wrote:
>>What's my point in all this?  I supposed it might be summed up as: "The 
>>best is the enemy of the good".

Hmmm... I take your point, and I think my attempted pithy summary missed 
its intended target.  What I was trying to convey was a sense that a great 
language has to let merely average (or worse) programmers do a halfway 
decent job.  There aren't enough great programmers to go round.

And even great programmers sometimes have to work with someone else's 
codebase (which even if written by a great programmer may have had diffent 
goals in mind).

(FWIW, I think Python is a language that scores pretty highly on this count.)


Graham Klyne
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