Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Mar 2007 22:27 UTC
Java "Although the .NET vs. Java war is basically over for control of the Windows desktop, where .NET is sure to become the managed language of choice for new Windows desktop applications, there is a new battle brewing. That battle is for the Linux desktop. Now that Java has been open sourced under the GPL, even the most strict of the 'free software only' distributions can start bundling it and integrating it into their Linux distributions out of the box."
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RE[5]: Only Two Choices?
by Mystilleef on Thu 8th Mar 2007 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Only Two Choices?"
Mystilleef
Member since:
2005-06-29

Static type checking is overrated. And does almost nothing to alleviate software complexity or reduce bugs in typical software programs. When was the last time a type error brought a project to a hault? In my experience writing programs with both statically and dynamically typed languages, type errors have been the least of my concerns. And I only realized that after writing a medium scale project in a dynamically typed languages.

What static type checking does is give impressionable developers a false sense of security. The reality is that disasterous bugs in software are only found via testing. Unit automated testing, regression testing, user testing and manual testing are the scientifically proven ways to ferret out bugs in software, not fanatically checking data types whether or not it makes sense. Type errors are cheap to discover and fix in about every language I know. Python, in particular, points you to exact function and line a possible type error may have occurred, albeit during testing.

The errors most developers have nightmares over are the ones related to design, semantics, threading (race condition, dead locks, etc), inadequate understanding of the problem space or inexperience, bugs in third party libraries, poor or lack of documentation among many others. I have yet to a see a developers grow gray hair over type errors.

Static typing is something smart compilers should manage for programs. In fact, some smart compilers already do that. Haskell's compiler has an impressive inference engine that many statically typed languages should emulate. The single significant advantage of static typing is optimization and performance tuning. Errors with respect to types are almost always insignificant and cheap to discover. A programmer's greatest challenge should be design, not fighting around needlessly with compiler errors or language semantics.

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