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Re: going back to stone axes

>Data definition languages are good for you... it seems that seat-of-the-pants 
>programmers that have never worked on large developments have no concept of 
>design documents and the need for clear design specifications.  Just defining 
>the "bits" does not provide clear and concise design specifications.  
Nicely said, Paul.
>An "abstract syntax" specification of a data structure provides: 
>- a concise human readable definition of structured data 
>- a design specification that can be checked for syntactic 
>  correctness by a computer 
>- a simple way for designers and implementors to communicate 
>  precisely the content of a data object without having 
>  to worry about the encoding 
>- extensibility to define new data types built on the 
>  basic constructs 

That's a good list of requirements that must be met, and I wouldn't consider 
attemting a large project that involved a number of different people and/or 
orgnaizations without such a tool, especially the ability to check the 
specification for syntactic correctness.

Whether or not this tol can also compile code is almost irrelevant, as is the 
performance of the code that results. If you do have a compiler, you can at 
least use the generated code as a reference implementation, even if ti is 
awful. But these days there is little or no excuse for a lousy compiler, 
although as in other areas of life you et what you pay for.


Robert R. Jueneman
GTE Laboratories
40 Sylvan Road
Waltham, MA 02254

"The opinions expressed are my own, and may not 
reflect the official position of GTE, if any, on this subject."