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2008-01-16-painPathVisualize Context (requires Java Plug-in)
CREATED BY chris • LAST EDITED BY chris 4266 days AGO
John Walker: "Most programs start out as nonprogrammable, closed applications, then painfully claw their way to programmability through the introduction of a limited script or macro facility, succeeded by an increasingly comprehensive interpretive macro language which grows like topsy and without a coherent design as user demands upon it grow. Finally, perhaps, the program is outfitted with bindings to existing languages such as C."

Nowadays: Most programming systems start out as nonmetaprogrammable ...

"Unfortunately, interpreters are slow, slow, slow. A simple calculation of the number of instructions of overhead per instruction that furthers the execution of the program quickly demonstrates that no interpreter is suitable for serious computation."

While John Walker probably wrote the introduction to Atlast (which could've been AutoForth) quoted above in the early 90s and interpreters today aren't slow, slow, slow but merely slow, isn't it [ amazing | striking | hilarious ] that the simple and incredibly effective (as demonstrated by K or MATLAB) technique of amortizing interpretive overhead by way of bulk ops applied to large data sets remains largely ignored, except in specialized communities raised on matrix milk?

Of much more general interest, however, is the following:

"It is far, far better to have thousands of creative users expanding the scope of one's product in ways the original developers didn't anticipate—in fact, working for the vendor without pay, than it is to have thousands of frustrated users writing up wish list requests that the vendor can comply with only by hiring people and paying them to try to accommodate the perceived needs of the users. Open architecture and programmability not only benefits the user, not only makes a product better in the technical and marketing sense, but confers a direct economic advantage upon the vendor of such a product—one mirrored in a commensurate disadvantage to the vendor of a closed product."

Straight from the Mashup Manifesto?


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