9.27.2007

More on the continuous tax

Cedric post on the continuous tax triggered what it seems as another debate between dynamically types language versus statically typed language. This funny thing that even if Java and Ruby are not always mentioned, it seems as this debate is more about who prefers to code in Java or who prefer to code in Ruby.

Eric Burke took my comment (calling it bullshit) on Cedric post to talk a bit on how he did pay this so-called tax once or twice.

While I do not really appreciate it when someone compare what I say with shit, the debate has a bit too much flames for me to add oil to it.

I find this debate to be much like flame wars that the young Java community endured with the C/C++ community a not so long time ago. Much of the debate revolve around one particular aspect of the newcomer without any substantial facts. In the early days of Java, it was performance (which was partly true, but even when we got Hotspot, naysayer were still saying that Java was interpreted). Now with the rise of dynamic language (yes I'm thinking Ruby but also Javascript), we have the Java dinosaurs arguing that you cannot do re-factoring or code completion with these language because they are dynamically typed. But these things can now be done with the latest IDEs. Maybe not to the extent that we can achieve with Java IDE but it is evolving rapidly.

Today dynamic language naysayer are no better that yesterday Java naysayers, they hold onto the same argument over and over without clearly substantiating them (I'm sorry when you loose 5 minutes, because a method does not really return the type you are expecting while acknowledging that you still have some miles to put behind you using the language, does not count as paying a continuous tax).

I use both Java and Ruby on a daily basis. While sometimes I may miss the righteousness of a statically typed language, I cannot say that I pay a higher tax when I use Ruby. Nor I can say that I pay a lower tax when programming in Java and having to write useless catch statements, having to write a freaking Comparator to sort object based on multiple attributes, having to check for nulls all the time (yes I know about the Null object idiom) or waiting for my application server to restart.

Both type of language have distinct advantages and inconvenients. I try to keep an open mind about it and use the best language/platform for the task at hand.

1 comment:

Eric Burke said...

Sorry for my pottymouth language. I mostly took issue with the way you stated your opinions as indisputable concrete true/false facts. Your comparison to C/C++ versus Java wars is spot on. I "loosed" a lot more than 5 minutes, by the way.

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