Re: sgml parser (Jacob Navia)
18 Feb 1999 10:45:26 -0500

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From: (Jacob Navia)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 18 Feb 1999 10:45:26 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 99-02-069 99-02-092
Keywords: parse, design, comment

> The hot thing these days is XML. I recall seeing a Java XML parser on...

Fads and Trends, or the usage of fashion within the software industry.

Fads, or, if you want, fashion in general, has a very specific
function within the textile industry: to produce obsolescence. Your
shirt is OK, and it works. This is a nightmare for the shirt
fabricants, so they use (specially for women...) the fashion weapon:
VOGUE said that that kind of shirt is OUT... "The hot thing these
days is ...", they will tell us.

Software industry has this need in the same vein as the textile
industry, but here fads are not even as varied and sophisticated as
VOGUE... surely not.

Compilers, and languages in general, help and actually are the motor
of this. Your software is running? The old compiler is working?
Nightmare for the software and compiler vendors. The solution is
obviously, to declare in the standard fashion magazines (that fullfill
the same role as VOGUE here in Paris...) that "IT'S OUTMODED, dirty,
obsolete, old, ugly, whatever", so that you buy a new one obviously. A
new one that needs more disk, more RAM, more everything, and that is
so bug-ridden and complex that will need fresh updates every two
months or so.

I wonder if the BASIC LANGUAGE DESIGN of the 1990's is not centered
around the basic need of justifying a new release every few months.
Just look at C++ for instance.

In discussion groups such as this, the fascinating interface between
economics and technical reasoning, between the needs of the software
vendors, and the needs of the users (fashion or not, a shirt HAS to
somehow fulfill its function) its seldom explicitely discussed.

Obviously, because this is too hot to handle and each of us know far
too well what is going on to say it in public.


Jacob Navia Logiciels/Informatique
41 rue Maurice Ravel Tel 01
93430 Villetaneuse Fax 01
[This is wandering pretty far from compilers. Follow to comp.lang.misc
please unless you have a compiler angle. -John]

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