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Verbiage: On programming languages people use being better

Chacham (981) writes | more than 5 years ago

User Journal 4

Rob van Wijk blogged a good point:

Rob van Wijk blogged a good point:

When faced with a challenging problem, most people tend to resort to the language they are most comfortable with. I know I do. For example, I'm way better with PL/SQL than I am with Java. So when faced with a hard algorithm, I'll always use PL/SQL. And I bet a Java programmer reasons the other way round. So when saying that straight SQL is harder to maintain than PL/SQL, I guess you are really saying that your PL/SQL skills are very good, but your SQL skills are, well, somewhat less than very good. That's no problem at all, since you will still be able to build applications effectively. But I don't think the language itself is to blame, it's the skills of the people talking that language.

He's making the simple point that its not that the language is better at the job, it's that the coder is better at the language.

Some things are obvious, but only after you think about them. :)

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Yes (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27268203)

And to step back further - it's the craftsmen, not the tool. Though this does help us to see - that some tools are not appropriate to some jobs. There are some things that pure SQL cannot do - which is why the extensions exist.

Of course most modern languages can all pretty much do the same things, they just go about it in different ways.

Re:Yes (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270479)

There are some things that pure SQL cannot do

Heretic!

Anything that cannot be done is SQL is illegal, immoral, and fattening. So even if there was a case--which of course there isn't--it would be useless.

The problem is... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27268567)

...when people know only one language really well, that's in just one, uh, type or kind of "environment".

Serious programmers should prolly know one largish-scale mainstream compiled/semi-compiled language (e.g. C | C++ | C# | Java), and SQL, and JavaScript, and an environmental scripting language (e.g. NT cmd | sh | perl). Otherwise you end up with abominations like things belonging in the "write a quickie script" milleu being done in Java, where a bunch of disk thrashing and memory fluctuations has to occur to load and init a heavyweight JVM just to back up a single log file. Or abortions like doing a SELECT * from <tablename> and then the developer writes C code to loop thru the record set one or more times to sort them or filter them. (I lost count of how many times I've seen this.)

So it's not either or, it's both.

And this is prolly what's behind efforts such as Google's Java-to-JavaScript translator project, and MS's C# for web or desktop apps, and their stuff to access DB's and XML files thru a unified API. With most people there's not the interest nor time to get proficient in one well-chosen language/programming style for each of the major programming domains.

So for example programmers will continue to write a bunch of C++ error-checking code (or leave it out!) while doing XML parsing, because they don't know how, or that you can, easily and quickly express the vast majority of it in XSD. <grr> <sigh>

Re:The problem is... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270581)

Good points.

I was going to post about half of what you said, but i couldn't quickly figure out how to say it. You said more and well. Thanx.

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