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Prenj
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:43 pm    Post subject: Joel on Software - Biculturalism Reply with quote

Quite an interesting read here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Biculturalism.html

Quote:
A cultural difference doesn't mean that American stomachs can't digest sushi or that Japanese stomachs can't digest Big Macs, and it doesn't mean that there aren't lots of Americans who eat sushi or Japanese who eat burgers, but it does mean that Americans getting off the plane for the first time in Tokyo are confronted with an overwhelming feeling that this place is strange, dammit, and no amount of philosophizing about how underneath we're all the same, we all love and work and sing and die will overcome the fact that Americans and Japanese can never really get comfortable with each others' toilet arrangements.


:lol:
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article, thanks.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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When Raymond points out that the CSV format is inferior to the /etc/passwd format, he's trying to score points for Unix against Windows, but, you know what? He's right. /etc/passwd is easier to parse than CSV, and if you read this book, you'll know why, and you'll be a better programmer.

I'm curious. Anyone know the answer?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
Quote:
When Raymond points out that the CSV format is inferior to the /etc/passwd format, he's trying to score points for Unix against Windows, but, you know what? He's right. /etc/passwd is easier to parse than CSV, and if you read this book, you'll know why, and you'll be a better programmer.

I'm curious. Anyone know the answer?

CSV doesn't let you escape the separator. This turns out to be more complex to parse.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
Quote:
When Raymond points out that the CSV format is inferior to the /etc/passwd format, he's trying to score points for Unix against Windows, but, you know what? He's right. /etc/passwd is easier to parse than CSV, and if you read this book, you'll know why, and you'll be a better programmer.

I'm curious. Anyone know the answer?

CSV doesn't let you escape the separator. This turns out to be more complex to parse.

Interesting. I would naively assume that would make it easier to parse: a comma is a separator, end of story, no thinking required. I am probably missing some details though.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. The unstated assumption in the argument is that you cannot rule out the separator being included in a field and must be able to handle it. Both standards include conventions for this purpose; the one used by CSV results in greater parsing complexity. The counter-argument would be that it's easier to understand and read.

There is a link to the book if you're actually interested.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. I've only ever seen /etc/passwd separated by commas.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind, the book is a bit outdated:

http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/ch12s01.html
Quote:
The most powerful optimization technique in any programmer's toolbox is to do nothing.

This very Zen advice is true for several reasons. One is the exponential effect of Moore's Law — the smartest, cheapest, and often fastest way to collect performance gains is to wait a few months for your target hardware to become more capable. Given the cost ratio between hardware and programmer time, there are almost always better things to do with your time than to optimize a working system.

Is not true in that old sense since hardware is not getting faster, but more parallel, so the Amdahl's Law is more and more relevant.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Interesting. I've only ever seen /etc/passwd separated by commas.

Seriously? I can't recall ever seeing it delimited by commas.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, colons. Principle is the same.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Sorry, colons. Principle is the same.

The principle of using a delimiter is the principle of using a delimiter, but the way they are used in /etc/passwd and CSV are quite different in terms of escaping (i.e., in terms of handling the case where the character selected as the identifier shows up in the content of one of the fields). The difference makes the logic required to parse the CSV format more complex and less efficient.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
Keep in mind, the book is a bit outdated:

http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/ch12s01.html
Quote:
The most powerful optimization technique in any programmer's toolbox is to do nothing.

This very Zen advice is true for several reasons. One is the exponential effect of Moore's Law — the smartest, cheapest, and often fastest way to collect performance gains is to wait a few months for your target hardware to become more capable. Given the cost ratio between hardware and programmer time, there are almost always better things to do with your time than to optimize a working system.

Is not true in that old sense since hardware is not getting faster, but more parallel, so the Amdahl's Law is more and more relevant.

Moore and Amdahl. They were Spaniards, right?
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