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Posts for July 19, 2018

Radically Interoperable and Universal”

In In Praise of Email Dan Cohen writes of how email got things right, long before some of our other ways of interacting online came along and got so many things wrong.

I’ve long thought that email was the killer app of the internet, despite the problems that many people have with it. Those tend to be not inherent in email, but caused by the way we use it.

Here’s one point he makes, in regard to the algorithmic timelines that are ruining Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Although some email systems algorithmically sort email by priority or importance, that is not part of the email system itself. Again, this can be added, or not, by the user, and the default is strictly chronological.

Although my main problem, as I’ve said before, is with some clients that insisting that “chronological” means “newest first.”

REPL Reply

Hjertnes talks about the joy of a REPL:

A REPL or read eval print loop is what we called an interactive prompt back in the day when I learnt Python and Ruby.

He goes on to say:

For a REPL to make sense you need to be able to test small chunks of code. Like this function or this expression; or my typical thing, “would this work” or how the fuck was that syntax again?

I’ve sometimes found that they have a downside. When you are looking for code examples, then if a language has a REPL, very often the examples show the use of a feature in the REPL. Which may be fine, but is not so helpful if you’re trying to find out how to construct a class or a function.

Which point, to be fair, Hjertnes does address:

In other words, if your language require a lot of “foreplay” to run code, like declaring a namespace and a class etc (I’m looking at you Java and C#) it will probably not be the right thing. But if you can evaluate code without much fuss it is.

Java is supposed to be getting one soon, I believe, if it’s not already in version 9.