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FORTH programmers - "prickly" vs "gooey"

I've been casually following the recent thread "Renaissance of 
Forth". Also I'm investigating using Tcl/Tk and was referred to 
Clift Flynt's  _Tcl/Tk - A Developer's Guide_ . In his preface 
classifies programmers as  "prickly" or "gooey" in their 
development style. Abusing his classification somewhat that might 
be rephrased as "rigidly formal" vs "casual friday".

I think some of the clashes on clf might be due to FORTH being 
useful to those in both camps. Mr. Flynt points out that good 
programmers go back and forth between the two views as 
circumstances dictate.

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rowlett (414)
4/2/2011 7:36:57 PM
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On Apr 2, 3:36=A0pm, Richard Owlett <rowl...@pcnetinc.com> wrote:
> I think some of the clashes on clf might be due to FORTH
> being useful to those in both camps.

In what sense are prickly/gooey rigid/flexible formal/casual pragmatic/
idealistic distinctions demonstrated here, and how do you see those
distinctions leading to "clashes"?  Care to offer a concrete example,
citing two (or more) people involved in a single "clash", how you
divide them into these categories, and how those distinctions lead to
the "clash"?

There are certainly different perspectives here that can be broken
into categories like professional/hobbyist, experienced/novice, and
academic/industrial.  And you could go further, diving into things
like preferred paradigms (procedural/functional/other), development
style (structured/chaotic), how well one understands how the language
is implemented, abstraction level, number of languages one can express
ideas in, etc.

> Mr. Flynt points out that good programmers go back and
> forth between the two views as circumstances dictate.

Yes, but I would take this beyond the vague prickly/gooey distinction
and take it to *every* distinction.
0
4/2/2011 9:44:24 PM
John Passaniti wrote:
> On Apr 2, 3:36 pm, Richard Owlett<rowl...@pcnetinc.com>  wrote:

[But first reinsert snipped text - context can be every thing ;]
"I've been casually following the recent thread "Renaissance of 
Forth". Also I'm investigating using Tcl/Tk and was referred to 
Clift Flynt's  _Tcl/Tk - A Developer's Guide_ . In his preface 
classifies programmers as  "prickly" or "gooey" in their 
development style. Abusing his classification somewhat that might 
be rephrased as "rigidly formal" vs "casual friday". "


>> I think some of the clashes on clf might be due to FORTH
>> being useful to those in both camps.
>
> In what sense are prickly/gooey rigid/flexible formal/casual pragmatic/
> idealistic distinctions demonstrated here, and how do you see those
> distinctions leading to "clashes"?  Care to offer a concrete example,
> citing two (or more) people involved in a single "clash", how you
> divide them into these categories, and how those distinctions lead to
> the "clash"?

I tried Amazon to see if they had the preface available, but both 
times site started to display preview material but just withered 
away. [He references Alan watts, _The Book: On the Taboo Against 
Knowing Who You Are_ as source for his usage of terms "prickly" / 
"gooey".]

I remember one from several years ago with me on one side and I 
don't remember who on the other side. I had "rediscovered" FORTH, 
not having looked at since the days of Byte's special issue. My 
learning style is to solve an actual problem of interest. I had 
working prototype, in BASIC IIRC. I attempted it in FORTH. It was 
going well. The FORTH solution was cleaner. But I was stuck on 
one point. The input data was only in a text file over which I 
had no control. So I had a parsing problem. Easily solved in 
BASIC. So I posed a "parsing question" on clf and got told I was 
using "wrong language/tool/..."

>
> There are certainly different perspectives here that can be broken
> into categories like professional/hobbyist, experienced/novice, and
> academic/industrial.  And you could go further, diving into things
> like preferred paradigms (procedural/functional/other), development
> style (structured/chaotic), how well one understands how the language
> is implemented, abstraction level, number of languages one can express
> ideas in, etc.

I think all your perspectives are ~ orthogonal to what Mr.Flynt 
was saying. "Right brain" vs "left brain" might be closer.

>
>> Mr. Flynt points out that good programmers go back and
>> forth between the two views as circumstances dictate.
>
> Yes, but I would take this beyond the vague prickly/gooey distinction
> and take it to *every* distinction.

No.

0
rowlett (414)
4/2/2011 11:19:25 PM
Any distinction on programmer type is purely for the paid or not paid distinction in the end. Or some misguided savant copying and excelling without 'thought' on the domain of human pay packet relations.
0
jackokring (1001)
4/3/2011 12:16:56 AM
On Apr 2, 7:19=A0pm, Richard Owlett <rowl...@pcnetinc.com> wrote:
> [But first reinsert snipped text - context can be every thing ;]

Sure, but in this case, adding back the "context" provides nothing.

> I remember one from several years ago with me on one side
> and I don't remember who on the other side. I had "rediscovered"
> FORTH, not having looked at since the days of Byte's special
> issue. My learning style is to solve an actual problem of
> interest. I had working prototype, in BASIC IIRC. I attempted
> it in FORTH. It was going well. The FORTH solution was cleaner.
> But I was stuck on one point. The input data was only in a text
> file over which I had no control. So I had a parsing problem.
> Easily solved in BASIC. So I posed a "parsing question" on clf
> and got told I was using "wrong language/tool/..."

So?  What does this have to do with prickly/gooey distinctions?  In
your example, are you prickly or gooey?

comp.lang.forth is a discussion newsgroup filled with people who have
a wide variety of opinions.  Some people come here and say, "how would
I do this in Forth" and that leads to interesting and useful
discussion.  Other people ask the same question and they are told that
Forth isn't the best language for the problem.  Both can be right.
Right tool for the job is not an unusual or radical concept, and in
some applications, Forth is a *terrible* language.  Forth's
extensibility and malleability mean that you can (with effort)
eventually make Forth the right tool for any problem.  But that's true
for *ANY* language-- throw enough code at the problem and build up
enough infrastructure, and presto-- language X becomes the ideal
language.  Some languages might make the process easier and the final
result may have a nicer look and feel.  But there is a reason why you
don't see Forth commonly in some applications:  It's because other
languages either already have the capabilities one needs, or that
someone else has put in the investment of time and effort to create
that infrastructure.

So maybe the people who told you that you were using the wrong
language were right.  Maybe they read your question, thought about the
general class of problems, and realized that it would take a lot more
infrastructure to get Forth to do what you wanted.  Maybe you should
consider the value of their experience.

What was your reply?  Was it the same as a child being told there is
no Santa Claus and you dug you heels in, plugged your ears, and went
"nah nah nah?"  Or did you say, "okay, I can respect that people with
more experience than I have with Forth think this isn't a good
application for Forth, but I'm interested in solutions and strategies
anyway."  In other words, how did your response affect the
conversation?

> I think all your perspectives are ~ orthogonal to what
> Mr.Flynt was saying. "Right brain" vs "left brain" might
> be closer.

Maybe, although most everything I've read on brain function
lateralization says most of what people believe about what kinds of
processing the left and right hemispheres do is more the result of pop
psychology and less from neuroscience research.  That is, while where
is certainly broad classes of brain function that are identified to be
left or right, these tend to be lower-level functions.  Pretty much
everything interesting that humans do requires integration of both
sides.  Programming in particular requires both serial and parallel
application of both sides of the brain.  In order to write anything
non-trivial requires skills in mapping concepts to language (more
left), abstraction (more right), calculation (more left), and
aesthetics (more right).

And sure, maybe there is a bias in some people towards one side of the
brain or the other.  But it's probably less about pop psychology left/
right brain distinctions and more about background and experience.

> > Yes, but I would take this beyond the vague prickly/gooey
> > distinction and take it to *every* distinction.
>
> No.

I don't understand why not.  You seem to be saying that programmers
who can flip between this vague prickly/gooey distinction are better
because they can view problems from both perspectives.  So presumably
you believe that the more perspectives one can bring to their work,
the better.  So why doesn't the same hold for the other distinctions I
brought up?  Why is only prickly/gooey deserving?

0
4/3/2011 3:59:23 AM
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