Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is Weak Typing Strong Enough?: "Big Case Study

I watched the strong/weak battle play out (in various ways) in Amazon's Customer Service Applications group for years. I was initially aligned as follows:

* I was in the 'strong' camp for languages, personally favoring development in Java.

* I liked the 'weak' camp for protocols (e.g. favoring xml/rpc over SOAP) and XML modeling (favoring no DTD or schema at all).

* I was in the 'clueless' camp for relational modeling (favoring keeping my mouth shut and learning from the experts.)

One thing I observed was that the folks who favored Perl always seemed to be able to get stuff done really, really fast, even compared to experienced Java folks. And they had their act together; it wasn't just crude hackery, as many Java programmers would like to believe. Their code was generally very well organized, and when it wasn't, they'd go in periodically and fix it. Sometimes they did quick, hacky scripts, and in fact the ability to do this proved to be mission-critical time and time again. But generally the Perl stuff worked just as well as the Java stuff. Whenever performance became an issue, they'd find clever ways to make it perform well enough."

java or perl or python or ruby! ack!

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