Gilad Is Right
Gilad Is Right (Confessions From A Recovering Typoholic)
If you have not seen Gilad Bracha's talk on pluggable and optional type systems or read the corresponding paper, I really urge you to do so (or invite Gilad as the invited talk in your conference or workshop). The thesis of optional and pluggable type systems is that type-systems should be an optional layer on top of an otherwise dynamically typed system in such a way that (a) types cannot change the run-time behavior of the program, and (b) they cannot prevent an otherwise legal program form compiling or executing. In short what Gilad is saying is that you should not depend on static typing. However, we all know that static type-systems are very addictive, like the finest crack from the backstreets of the ghetto, and I will stop beating around the bush and confess "I am Erik, and I am a (recovering) typoholic".
To illustrate the tantalizing power of static typing, take the concept of axis members in Visual Basic 9. In our first design we keyed "late" binding over XML on the static type of the receiver. For example take the following element declaration
Dim Pu As XElement = <Atom AtomicWeight="244"> <Name>Plutonium</Name> <Symbol AtomicNumber="94">Pu</Symbol> <Radioactive>true</Radioactive> </Atom>
Since the static type of
Besides the child axis, we have special support for attribute axis, written using an
To solve our pain, we recently decided to also introduce special syntax for the child axis and write
I hope that you agree that we have masked out the seductive voices of the static typing sirens by providing a syntax that is more beautiful and a semantics that is much simpler than our previous one that relied heavily on static typing. Gilad is right!
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