Sunday, January 21, 2007

Genius misquoted ...

Someone found an interesting interview with Bjarne Stroustrup and seems that everyone has focused on one statement of the interview [(1), (2), (3) amongst others].

In his interview, immediately after the quote everyone is so effusive about ("There are more useful systems developed in languages deemed awful than in languages praised for being beautiful--many more."), he makes some very important assertions:
  1. "Elegance is essential, ..."
  2. "I think we should look for elegance in the applications built, rather than in the languages themselves."
  3. "To use C++ well, you have to understand design and programming technique."
  4. "C++ is designed to allow you to express ideas, but if you don't have ideas or don't have any clue about how to express them, C++ doesn't offer much help."
  5. "The main reason for C++'s success is simply that it meets its limited design aims: it can express a huge range of ideas directly and efficiently."
Man, I think all quoting him should at a minimum use [3] & [4] as part of their statements. The quote should actually consider:
  • There are many projects, most of them fail ... because of poor design, no matter which language is used (assertion 3 & 4)
  • There are many programmers, most of them dislike to share their knowledge (or is it just their egos driving?) making API's and code as cryptic as possible ... that adds to poor maintainability (how many of you have been involved in a "code hand-over" ... it is never a bed of roses!)
  • Using standards and libraries (lets say hungarian notation, stl, and even smart pointers) software can be written in C++ that is efficient, elegant, and maintainable.
It is obvious that the guys that like quoting have only worked in small projects and/or really like just liaising at the code level.

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