[JSR308] Can we agree on our goals?

Hani Suleiman hani at formicary.net
Fri Feb 2 18:13:24 EST 2007

On Feb 2, 2007, at 6:04 PM, Brian Goetz wrote:

> I have to agree with Ted.  In particular:
>>>> About your note below, I feel comprelled to repeat my remarks about
>>>> Flon's axiom.  Of course you can write unreadable programs with our
>>>> annotation proposal.  You can write unreadable programs in Java
>>>> already and sure, we'll provide new ways to do that.  But that's  
>>>> not
>>>> the point.  The point is whether we'll help programmers use
>>>> annotations intelligently to accomplish what they want to do.   
>>>> Most of
>>>> those good uses of annotations will be fairly spare.
> I think this is extrapolating from an experience base that has  
> very, very little to do with how Java is used in the real world,  
> and I'm happy to bet with you that in five years, we'd be lamenting  
> the unintended consequences.  Java has been very successful as a  
> language; in part, this is because it has achieved a good balance  
> of expressiveness and safety, and that it encourages mediocre  
> programmers to write decent code.  Tinkering with such success  
> requires setting the bar very high. For extending the language, the  
> bar should not simply be "can people write better code than they  
> can now?" (and especially not "does this enable experts to write  
> better code than they can now"), but "will this encourage _average_  
> programmers to write better code?"
> Most of the code examples I've seen on this list terrify me.  I'd  
> like to see that degree of terror more broadly shared (so far, it  
> seems like Ted, Neal, and I are the only ones that have expressed  
> their fear).

Count me in in the fear category! I'm somewhat dismayed by a good  
portion the examples shown actually, very few of which have seemed  
like things that a) most people would want to do, and b) most people  
CAN do.

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