[Haskell-cafe] Dynamic typing makes you more productive?

Jeremy Shaw jeremy at n-heptane.com
Tue Mar 18 15:36:08 EDT 2008

At Tue, 18 Mar 2008 09:41:15 -0700,
Justin Bailey wrote:
> >From a recent interview[1] with the guy leading Ruby development on
> .NET at Microsoft:
>  "You spend less time writing software than you spend maintaining
> software. Optimizing for writing software versus maintaining software
> is probably the wrong thing to do. Static typing makes it harder to
> maintain software because it's harder to change it."
> Two years ago I would have agreed with that statement. Now - no way.

I like to imagine it works like this:

bad static type < dynamic typing < good static typing.

Whenever someone says, dynamic typing is better than static typing --
just insert 'bad' in there and what they say actually makes a bit of
sense ;)

Since most programmers have never experienced a good static type
system, it think it is fair to assume they are comparing dynamic
typing to bad static typing -- unless they indicate otherwise.

People also tend to mistake features commonly found in dynamically
typed languages with things which could only be done in statically
typed languages. 

For example, users of many popular dynamically typed languages like to
be able to load code into an interpreter and run bits and pieces of it
to test things out. This is obviously not a property of dynamically
typed languages, since GHCi and hugs can do it as well.

Many coverts to dynamic languages like to be able to just start coding
with out having to first declare a bunch of stuff in .h files. But, of
course, in Haskell you can just start writing code -- no type
signatures or header files require.

In this particular case, the ruby developer is attempting to attract
attention and money to their project. The most likely converts are
going to be Java, C++, and C# users. In that context, I suppose the
claim that dynamic typing is better than (bad) static typing, could be
true for some class of projects...


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