Multimedia (was re: HeatedDiscussion)

Peter Crowther Peter.Crowther at
Thu Mar 16 08:59:17 UTC 2000

> From: Russell Allen [mailto:russell.allen at]
> out of their head and into electons

[Those who are tired of the whole language debate may wish to skip the
<soapbox> tag at the bottom]

I have to confess I stumbled as I scanned this part of Russell's mail.  Is
an electon the elementary particle of democracy?  And if this holds, is the
clause above a reference to the next set of Presidential elections? :-)

Oh yes --- somebody was asking about VB developers.  I'm one.  I teach it as
well.  I don't think it's an ideal programming or scripting language.  I've
been using it for years, and still trip over its special cases, such as when
to use set vs. when to use let for assignment.  There's also no clean way
I've found to hand around code fragments, akin to C function-pointers or
Smalltalk blocks.  This kind of problem makes it unsuitable as a scripting
language.  VBScript had the opportunity to be better, but Microsoft blew it
by keeping the let/set distinction for objects.

VB's capabilities for code factoring are also... er... 'less than ideal'.
There's no inheritance, for example, and COM delegation makes my flesh creep
at the amount of reimplementation you have to do in each delegating class.
The development environment isn't well set up to support such code
factoring, either --- for example, you only have one Project Explorer
window, and *cannot* get more.  If you want to browse around structure in
two parts of your application at the same time, there's no clean way to do
it.  At least MS are learning, slowly; the IDE is now extensible, although
the interface for writing your own components is not well documented and
you'd have the devil's own job to extend it in VB.

<soapbox type="Lux" bars="48" weather="throwing it down" location="Hyde Park
I think I agree with Lawson that [paraphrased: Lawson, please correct me if
I'm misrepresenting you] dumping a programming neophyte or a script bunny
into the full Squeak development environment won't get you very far.  I
disagree that the solution is to make the new environment look like the old
one.  If it was, we'd all be using Microsoft Visual Cobol 98 --- now with
enhanced CICS support.  Sometimes it takes a person with a strong vision of
the future to [first] sell that vision and [later, after market acceptance]
impose that vision on people --- in this case, Bill Gates and his vision
that BASIC is the language of the future.  If Squeak is to be as broadly
accepted in the development world as VB is, it will need scripting-level
access.  It's getting there.  Sure, it looks like nothing you've seen
before, but I don't feel that's necessarily a Bad Thing(TM).  Markets thrive
on diversity and competition; uniformity stifles that competition.

		- Peter

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