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Sun, 31 Aug 2003
Checked exceptions vs Unchecked Exceptions + Tests
Bill de Hora is contributing his thoughts to the checked exception debate. His post has some good points

As I was thinking about this some more, checked exceptions start looking like explicit typing. The reason people want checked exceptions is to make sure that no error conditions go unprocessed. Same thing that explicit typing people want. But let's apply the testing argument. If your testcases actually tested the relevant error conditions, then you wouldn't need to have a language mechanism to ensure that the errors got handled. At least, you could make all exceptions unchecked, and eliminate the multi-arm catch hairballs that are lying around. It's not like all those catch blocks that are empty, printing stacktraces, or logging exceptions are really improving the robustness of the systems that they are in.

[01:10] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Technology Review has an article on Roofnet, an MIT effort to build/deploy a mesh network using off the shelf 802.11b hardware. There's no substitute for trying to build something and seeing what happens. Theoretical models and simulations are nice, but experimental evidence at the correct scale gets my attention every time.
[01:00] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Comments as metadata
Oliver Steele has a long post categorizing the various uses of comments. Along the way, he stratifies macro systems into structural macros and definition-level macros, and relates those to explict programming.

He concludes with a section about comments intended for comment processors like doctest, iContract, and XDoclet.

All of these functions of comments as metadata could be implemented by extending the language instead. (Contracts are from Eiffel, for example, which supports them in its core syntax.) However, the use of structured comments as metadata lets a third-party tool address a gap in the language in a way that leaves the source structure intact for compilers and other source processors (such as editors, source debuggers, and refactoring tools) that wouldn't recognize an extended grammar. Just as comments are an escape hatch for human readers, they're an escape hatch for development tools as well.

And these two kinds of comments - natural language and structured metadata - are related. They both add information that can't be expressed in the primary programming language. And they're both useful to humans too.

[00:50] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Who's it?
Marc Canter thinks that I like Jon Udell's tagging conventions. That's a little premature. I'd like to see them so I can decide whether I like the idea or not. Mark Pilgrim is cleverly using HTML tags to get some smart behavior out of his weblog. We know that the RDF folks want to tag all sorts of stuff. So the question is, what is Jon doing? It sounds like neither.

Marc is asking about standards. As far as I know, we don't really have much experience with this kind of metadata in real world, real scale applications. Seems early for standardization. Of course, that never stopped the W3C or the JCP.

[00:42] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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