Monday, August 15, 2011

Welcome to my github world

Well, I did it. Against all reason and my better judgment, I went and made rstweaver depend on my fork of docutils.

This is not how we're supposed to do things. We're supposed to submit patches when we can and find workarounds while we have to, which is usually. This keeps everyone on the same libraries, and makes dependencies navigable by mere humans.

But go look at the most recently updated python-language repos on github. Right now the top ones are:

Repo Lines of code
dqwiki/lisabot 1369
benjschiller/checkmyclones 124
nolar/shortener 1458
eteq/astropysics 43,195
codebrainz/geany-sphinx 216

With one exception these are little projects. And what's the point of having such tiny projects if you can't bend them to your needs? And who's going to notice the extra space consumed by 3 slightly incompatible versions of lisabot?

Go look at the Python Package Index and see how small most of those projects are. Software is tiny these days. I think a large part this is due to Python being sufficiently easy that a lot more people can throw together one thing in Python than could in C++. And it interfaces better with itself so you have no incentive to make these massive sprawling projects.

So why?

Well cause there were some bugs I wanted to fix and a feature I wanted to add. Not compelling reasons but that's the experiment: how low can you set the threshold?

Avery Pennarun makes an interesting argument on a not-quite-the-same topic. (Linking to that might make it sound like I have some problems with docutils. I don't. Docutils is awesome).

With Python (or Ruby or Perl or ...) + Git we can do anything

I hope. No one really knows what the programming future holds. Wasn't Prolog supposed to be the future?

Why are all the "easy" languages dynamically typed?

Actually, that one's not hard to answer; a harder one is "Why do I think I still prefer static types?". The evidence is right there both in my own experience and in the numbers around me that dynamically-typed programming is just easier. You get more done. Why do I resist in admitting this?

"Languages of the future" always make me feel uneasy. Well I guess some day we'll all use Prolog and I can stop worrying.

(I want to like Scala. I really do. It's got everything I think I want in a language. But why do I have this uneasy feeling about it?).

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