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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
X-To: jim hopper <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 16:11:48 -0800
Reply-To: Mark Lundquist <[log in to unmask]>
From: Mark Lundquist <[log in to unmask]>
In-Reply-To: Message from jim hopper <[log in to unmask]> of "Wed, 01 Dec 1999 10:18:02 EST." <v04220801b46ae9f07338@[38.27.181.246]>
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From:  jim hopper <[log in to unmask]>

> [...] If all the kids
> in university are learning is how to use visual basic to do visually
> stunning, but irrelevant programs (mind candy) than we are indeed in
> big trouble.  how does a person make the jump from a dependence on
> precanned libraries using such tools to the real world??  are we
> going to graduate an entire generation of university students who
> think programming should be that easy?   visual basic and other such
> tools it seems to me should be forbidden to cs students until they
> learn the fundamentals and how to do it the correct way.  how many
> bridges and buildings have fallen down around the world (and other
> catastrophes) because some engineer was just taught the formulas and
> not the basics of how the equations are derived, and where they are
> valid and where they are not.
>
> I already dispair over the younger people i work with today because
> they don't have any idea of what their code really does because they
> seldom are taught much of anything about assembly language and the
> guts of processors.  Now you are suggesting that and even more
> ignorant group are on their way, who think that writing a program is
> just a matter of sticking the proper libraries together!  Sounds a
> lot like the engineers who think that building a bigger bridge is
> just a matter of sticking the same old equations and designs together!

Read Ellen Ullman's article, "The Dumbing Down Of Programming":

    http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1998/05/cov_12feature.html

(make sure you follow the "page 2 =>" and "Part 2 =>" links at the
bottom of the pages, or you won't get the full article...)

And even though it's not _directly_ related to this post, people
interested in these issues would probably also be interested in reading
Neal Stephenson's new book, "In The Beginning... Was The Command-Line".
Technically his analysis is a little off at a few points, but... this
book kicks butt!  It's a cheap little book, so go out and buy it now! :-)

Then you gotta read "The Limits of Software", by Robert N. Britcher.
Even though he has a crummy view of Ada, it's still a good book with some
deep insights about the software world.


--

Mark Lundquist
Senior Software Engineer
Rational Software
Development Solutions Business Unit
UNIX Suites Group
Aloha, OR, USA

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