October 30, 2013 11:41 AM

Discipline Can Be Structural As Well As Personal

There is a great insight in an old post by Brian Marick, Discipline and Skill, which I re-read this week. The topic sentence asserts:

Discipline can be a personal virtue, but it must also be structural.

Extreme Programming illustrates this claim. It draws its greatest power from the structural discipline it creates for developers. Marick goes on:

For example, one of the reasons to program in pairs is that two people are less likely to skip a test than one is. Removing code ownership makes it more likely someone within glaring distance will see that you didn't leave code as clean as you should have. The business's absolute insistence on getting working -- really working -- software at frequent intervals makes the pain of sloppiness strike home next month instead of next year, stiffening the resolve to do the right thing today.

P consists of a lot of relatively simple actions, but simple actions can be hard to perform, especially consistently and especially in opposition to deeply ingrained habits. XP practices work together to create structural discipline that helps developers "do the right thing".

We see the use of social media playing a similar role these days. Consider diet. People who are trying to lose weight or exercise more have to do some pretty simple things. Unfortunately, those things are not easy to do consistently, and they are opposed by deep personal and cultural habits. In order to address this, digital tool providers like FitBit make it easy for users to sync their data to a social media account and share with others.

This is a form of social discipline, supported by tools and practices that give structure to the actions people want to take. Just like XP. Many behaviors in life work this way.

(Of course, I'm already on record as saying that XP is a self-help system. I have even fantasized about XP's relationship to self-help in the cinema.)

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: General, Software Development

October 29, 2013 3:49 PM

My PLoP 2013 Retrospective

wrapper of the Plopp candy bar I received from Rebecca Rikner

PLoP 2013 was as much fun and as invigorating as I had hoped it would be. I hadn't attended in eight years, but it didn't take long to fall back into the rhythm of writers' workshops interspersed among invited talks, focus group sessions, BoFs, mingling, and (yes) games.

I was lead moderator for Workshop 010010, which consisted of pedagogical patterns papers. The focus of all of them was interactivity, whether among students building LEGO Mindstorms robots or among students and instructor on creative projects. The idea of the instructor as an active participant, even "generative" in the sense meant by Christopher Alexander, dominated our discussion. I look forward to seeing published versions of the papers we discussed.

The other featured events included invited talks by Jenny Quillien and Ward Cunningham and a 20-year retrospective panel featuring people who were present at the beginning of PLoP, the Hillside Group, and software patterns.

Quillien spent six years working with Alexander during the years he created The Nature of Order. Her talk shared some of the ways that Alexander was disappointed in the effect of his seminal "A Pattern Language" had on the world, both as a result of people misunderstanding it and as a result of the books inherent faults. Along the way, she tried to give pragmatic advice to people trying to document patterns of software. I may try to write up some of her thoughts, and some of my own in response, in the coming weeks.

Cunningham presented his latest work on federated wiki, the notion of multiple, individual wikis "federated" in relationships that share and present information for a common good. Unlike the original wiki, in which collaboration happened in a common document, federated wiki has a fork button on every page. Anyone can copy, modify, and share pages, which are then visible to everyone and available for merging back into the home wikis.

the favicon for my federated wiki on Ward's server

Ward set me up with a wiki in the federation on his server before I left on Saturday. I want to play with it a bit before I say much more than this: Federated wiki could change how communities share and collaborate in much the same way that wiki did.

I also had the pleasure of participating in one other structured activity while at PLoP. Takashi Iba and his students at Keio University in Japan are making a documentary about the history of the patterns community. Takashi invited me to sit for an interview about pedagogical patterns and their history within the development of software patterns. I was happy to help. It was a fun challenge to explain my understanding of what a pattern language is, and to think about what my colleagues and I struggled with in trying to create small pattern languages to guide instruction. Of course, I strayed off to the topic of elementary patterns as well, and that led to more interesting discussion with Takashi. I look forward to seeing their film in the coming years.

More so than even other conferences, unstructured activity plays a huge role in any PLoP conference. I skipped a few meals so that I could walk the extensive gardens and grounds of Allerton Park (and also so that I would not gain maximum pounds from the plentiful and tasty meals that were served). I caught up with old friends such as Ward, Kyle Brown, Bob Hanmer, Ralph Johnson, and made too many new friends to mention here. All the conversation had my mind swirling with new projects and old... Forefront in my mind is exploring again the idea of design and implementation patterns of functional programming. The time is still right, and I want to help.

Now, to write my last entry or two from StrangeLoop...


Image 1. A photo of the wrapper of a Plopp candy bar, which I received as a gift from Rebecca Rikner. PLoP has a gifting tradition, and I received a box full of cool tools, toys, mementoes, and candy. Plopp is a Swedish candy bar, which made it a natural gift for Rebecca to share from her native land. (It was tasty, too!)

Image 2. The favicon for my federated wiki on Ward's server, eugene.fed.wiki.org. I like the color scheme that fed.wiki.org gave me -- and I'm glad to be early enough an adopter that I could claim my first name as the name of my wiki. The rest of the Eugenes in the world will have to settle for suffix numbers and all the other contortions that come with arriving late to the dance.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing, Patterns

October 19, 2013 7:38 AM

The Proto Interpreter for J

(Update: Josh Grams took my comment about needing a week of work to grok this code as a challenge. He figured it out much more quickly than that and wrote up an annotated version of the program as he went along.

I like finding and reading about early interpreters for programming languages, such as the first Lisp interpreter or Smalltalk-71, which grew out of a one-page proof of concept written by Dan Ingalls on a bet with Alan Kay.

So I was quite happy recently to run across Appendix A from An Implementation of J, from which comes the following code. Arthur Whitney whipped up this one-page interpreter fragment for the AT&T 3B1 one weekend in 1989 to demonstrate his idea for a new APL-like like language. Roger Hui studied this interpreter for a week before writing the first implementation of J.

typedef char C;typedef long I;
typedef struct a{I t,r,d[3],p[2];}*A;
#define P printf
#define R return
#define V1(f) A f(w)A w;
#define V2(f) A f(a,w)A a,w;
#define DO(n,x) {I i=0,_n=(n);for(;i<_n;++i){x;}}
I *ma(n){R(I*)malloc(n*4);}mv(d,s,n)I *d,*s;{DO(n,d[i]=s[i]);}
tr(r,d)I *d;{I z=1;DO(r,z=z*d[i]);R z;}
A ga(t,r,d)I *d;{A z=(A)ma(5+tr(r,d));z->t=t,z->r=r,mv(z->d,d,r);
 R z;}
V1(iota){I n=*w->p;A z=ga(0,1,&n);DO(n,z->p[i]=i);R z;}
V2(plus){I r=w->r,*d=w->d,n=tr(r,d);A z=ga(0,r,d);
 DO(n,z->p[i]=a->p[i]+w->p[i]);R z;}
V2(from){I r=w->r-1,*d=w->d+1,n=tr(r,d);
 A z=ga(w->t,r,d);mv(z->p,w->p+(n**a->p),n);R z;}
V1(box){A z=ga(1,0,0);*z->p=(I)w;R z;}
V2(cat){I an=tr(a->r,a->d),wn=tr(w->r,w->d),n=an+wn;
 A z=ga(w->t,1,&n);mv(z->p,a->p,an);mv(z->p+an,w->p,wn);R z;}
V2(rsh){I r=a->r?*a->d:1,n=tr(r,a->p),wn=tr(w->r,w->d);
 A z=ga(w->t,r,a->p);mv(z->p,w->p,wn=n>wn?wn:n);
 if(n-=wn)mv(z->p+wn,z->p,n);R z;}
V1(sha){A z=ga(0,1,&w->r);mv(z->p,w->d,w->r);R z;}
V1(id){R w;}V1(size){A z=ga(0,0,0);*z->p=w->r?*w->d:1;R z;}
pi(i){P("%d ",i);}nl(){P("\n");}
pr(w)A w;{I r=w->r,*d=w->d,n=tr(r,d);DO(r,pi(d[i]));nl();
 if(w->t)DO(n,P("< ");pr(w->p[i]))else DO(n,pi(w->p[i]));nl();}

C vt[]="+{~<#,"; A(*vd[])()={0,plus,from,find,0,rsh,cat}, (*vm[])()={0,id,size,iota,box,sha,0}; I st[26]; qp(a){R a>='a'&&a<='z';}qv(a){R a<'a';} A ex(e)I *e;{I a=*e; if(qp(a)){if(e[1]=='=')R st[a-'a']=ex(e+2);a= st[ a-'a'];} R qv(a)?(*vm[a])(ex(e+1)):e[1]?(*vd[e[1]])(a,ex(e+2)):(A)a;} noun(c){A z;if(c<'0'||c>'9')R 0;z=ga(0,0,0);*z->p=c-'0';R z;} verb(c){I i=0;for(;vt[i];)if(vt[i++]==c)R i;R 0;} I *wd(s)C *s;{I a,n=strlen(s),*e=ma(n+1);C c; DO(n,e[i]=(a=noun(c=s[i]))?a:(a=verb(c))?a:c);e[n]=0;R e;}
main(){C s[99];while(gets(s))pr(ex(wd(s)));}

I think it will take me a week of hard work to grok this code, too. Whitney's unusually spare APL-like C programming style is an object worthy of study in its own right.

By the way, Hui's Appendix A bears the subtitle Incunabulum, a word that means a work of art or of industry of an early period. So, I not only discovered a new bit of code this week; I also learned a cool new word. That's a good week.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing

October 16, 2013 11:38 AM

Poetry as a Metaphor for Software

I was reading Roger Hui's Remembering Ken Iverson this morning on the elliptical, and it reminded me of this passage from A Conversation with Arthur Whitney. Whitney is a long-time APL guru and the creator of the A, K, and Q programming languages. The interviewer is Bryan Cantrill.

BC: Software has often been compared with civil engineering, but I'm really sick of people describing software as being like a bridge. What do you think the analog for software is?

AW: Poetry.

BC: Poetry captures the aesthetics, but not the precision.

AW: I don't know, maybe it does.

A poet's use of language is quite precise. It must balance forces in many dimensions, including sound, shape, denotation, and connotation. Whitney seems to understand this. Richard Gabriel must be proud.

Brevity is a value in the APL world. Whitney must have a similar preference for short language names. I don't know the source of his names A, K, and Q, but I like Hui's explanation of where J's name came from:

... on Sunday, August 27, 1989, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, [I] wrote the first line of code that became the implementation described in this document.

The name "J" was chosen a few minutes later, when it became necessary to save the interpreter source file for the first time.

Beautiful. No messing around with branding. Gotta save my file.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing, Software Development

October 12, 2013 11:27 AM

StrangeLoop: This and That, Volume 3

[My notes on StrangeLoop 2013: Table of Contents]

Six good talks a day is about my limit. Seven for sure. Each creates so much mental activity that my brain soon loses the ability to absorb more. Then, I need a walk.


After Jenny Finkel's talk on machine, someone asked if Prismatic's system had learned any features or weights that she found surprising. I thought her answer was interesting. I paraphrase: "No. As a scientist, you should understand why the system is the way that it is, or find the bug if it shouldn't be that way."

In a way, this missed the point. I'm guessing the questioner was looking to hear about a case that required them to dig in because the answer was correct but they didn't know why yet, or incorrect and the bug wasn't obvious. But Finkel's answer shows how matter-of-fact scientists can be about what they find. The world is as it is, and scientists try to figure out why. That's all.


The most popular corporate swag this year was stickers to adorn one's laptop case. I don't put stickers on my gear, but I like looking at other people's stickers. My favorites were the ones that did more than simply display the company name. Among them were asynchrony:

asynchrony laptop sticker

-- which is a company name but also a fun word in its own right -- and data-driven:

O'Reilly laptop sticker

-- by O'Reilly. I also like the bound, graph-paper notebooks that O'Reilly hands out. Classy.


In a previous miscellany I mentioned Double Multitasking Guy. Not me, not this time. I carried no phone, as usual, and this time I left my laptop back in the hotel room. Not having any networked technology in hand creates a different experience, if not a better one.

Foremost, having no laptop affects my blogging. I can't take notes as quickly, or as voluminously. One of the upsides of this is that it's harder for me to distract myself by writing complete sentences or fact-checking vocabulary and URLs. Quick, what is the key idea here? What do I need to look up? What do I need to learn next?


With video recording now standard at tech conferences, and with StrangeLoop releasing its videos so quickly now, a full blow-by-blow report of each talk becomes somewhat less useful. Some people find summary reports helpful, though, because they don't want to watch the full talks or have the time to do so. Short reports let these folks keep their pulse on the state of the world. Others are looking for some indication of whether they want to invest the time to watch.

For me, the reports serve another useful purpose. They let me do a little light analysis and share my personal impressions of what I hear and learn. Fortunately, that sort of blog entry still finds an audience.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: General, Personal

October 11, 2013 1:42 PM

The Tang of Adventure, and a Lively Appreciation

"After you've learned the twelve times table," John Yarnelle asks, "what else is there to do?"

The concepts of modern mathematics give the student something else to do in great abundance and variety at all levels of his development. Not only may he discover unusual types of mathematical structures where, believe it or not, two and two does not equal four, but he may even be privileged to invent a new system virtually on his own. Far from a sense of stagnation, there is the tang of adventure, the challenge of exploration; perhaps also a livelier appreciation of the true nature of mathematical activity and mathematical thought.

Not only the tang of adventure; students might also come to appreciate what math really is. That's an admirable goal for any book or teacher.

This passage comes from Yarnelle's Finite Mathematical Structures, a 1964 paperback that teaches fields, groups, and algebras with the prose of a delighted teacher. I picked this slender, 66-page gem up off a pile of books being discarded by a retired math professor a decade ago. How glad I am that none of the math profs who walked past that pile bothered to claim it before I happened by.

We could use a few CS books like this, too.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing, Teaching and Learning

October 10, 2013 5:17 AM

Software Design is a Bet on a Particular Future

This truth is expressed nicely by Reginald Braithwaite:

Software design is the act of making bets about the future. A well-designed program is a bet on what will change in the future, and what will not change. And a well-designed program communicates the nature of that bet by being relatively flexible about things that the designers think are most likely to change, and being relatively inflexible about the things the designers think are least likely to change.

That's what refactoring is all about, of course. Sometimes, a particular guess turns out to be wrong. We have the wrong factors, the wrong components, for adding a new feature. So we change the shape of the code -- we factor it into different components -- to reflect our new best understanding of the future. Then we move on.

Sometimes, though, there are forces that make more desirable a relatively monolithic piece of code (or, as Braithwaite points out, a system decomposed into relatively less flexible components). In these cases, we need to defactor, to use Braithwaite's term: we recombine some or all of the parts to create a new design.

Predicting the future is hard, even for experienced programmers. One of the goals of agile design is to not think too far ahead, because that means committing to a future too far removed from what we already know to be true about our program.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Software Development

October 08, 2013 3:48 PM

You Never Know What Students Will Remember...

There are a lot of clichés about teachers and their unexpected effects on students. Some of them are true. In the last couple of weeks, I've been reminded twice that students remember the darnedest things, and those things can affect how they behave and live.

First, while at StrangeLoop, I was tagged in a Facebook conversation. A former student had posted an update that involved special-ordering a mini-fridge on-line. The ensuing conversation included the following:

Commenter: "In a college town you have to special order a mini-fridge? Me thinks you are doing it wrong."

Former student: "Yeah, I know... Eugene Wallingford once said the same when I wrote a framework to implement a stack..."

I know this student well and remember his stack framework. He is a smart guy who was learning a lot about CS and programming in a very short time. In his earnestness to apply what he was learning, he had indeed written a flexible, generic framework for a stack in response to a problem that called for twenty, maybe thirty, lines of Java 1.4.

We talked about simplicity, trade-offs, You Aren't Gonna Need It, and other design issues. I believe him when he says that I said, "You must be doing it wrong." That's the sort of thing I would say. I don't remember saying it in that moment, though.

Then, earlier this week, the latest issue of our college newsletter hit the newsstand. An undergrad CS major was interviewed for a "student spotlight" column. It contains this snippet:

Last semester, I went into Dr. Wallingford's office asking why I was not very efficient when answering questions, even though I read the material over and over again. I felt that because I had memorized the books information, I could quickly answer questions.... "He told me, 'when I want to improve my mile time, I run. I don't think about running; I go out and run.' This has really stuck with me since and showed me how books can only do so much. After that, it is the practice and experience that takes you far.

Again, I recall having a conversation with this student about how he could improve his test performance. He, too, is a smart guy who is good at learning the material we see in class and in the readings. What he needed at the time was more practice, to cement the new ideas in his mind, to help him make connections with what he already knew, and to help him write good code faster on exams.

I believe him when he says that I used a running analogy. Over the years, I have found that training for marathons illustrated a lot of useful ideas about learning, especially when it comes to practice and habit. And I do like analogies. But I don't remember the details of what I said in that particular conversation.

These two incidents are salient reminders that we should take seriously the time we spend with our students. They are listening -- and learning.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Teaching and Learning

October 07, 2013 12:07 PM

StrangeLoop: Exercises in Programming Style

[My notes on StrangeLoop 2013: Table of Contents]

Crista Lopes

I had been looking forward to Crista Lopes's StrangeLoop talk since May, so I made sure I was in the room well before the scheduled time. I even had a copy of the trigger book in my bag.

Crista opened with something that CS instructors have learned the hard way: Teaching programming style is difficult and takes a lot of time. As a result, it's often not done at all in our courses. But so many of our graduates go into software development for the careers, where they come into contact with many different styles. How can they understand them -- well, quickly, or at all?

To many people, style is merely the appearance of code on the screen or printed. But it's not. It's more, and something entirely different. Style is a constraint. Lopes used images of a few stylistic paintings to illustrate the idea. If an artist limits herself to pointillism or cubism, how can she express important ideas? How does the style limit the message, or enhance it?

But we know this is true of programming as well. The idea has been a theme in my teaching for many years. I occasionally write about the role of constraints in programming here, including Patterns as a Source of Freedom, a few programming challenges, and a polymorphism challenge that I've run as a workshop.

Lopes pointed to a more universal example, though: the canonical The Elements of Programming Style. Drawing on this book and other work in software, she said that programming style ...

  • is a way to express tasks
  • exists at all scales
  • recurs at multiple scales
  • is codified in programming language

For me, the last bullet ties back most directly to idea of style as constraint. A language makes some things easier to express than others. It can also make some things harder to express. There is a spectrum, of course. For example, some OO languages make it easy to create and use objects; others make it hard to do anything else! But the language is an enabler and enforcer of style. It is a proxy for style as a constraint on the programmer.

Back to the talk. Lopes asked, Why is it so important that we understand programming style? First, a style provides the reader with a frame of reference and a vocabulary. Knowing different styles makes us a more effective consumers of code. Second, one style can be more appropriate for a given problem or context than another style. So, knowing different styles makes us a more effective producers of code. (Lopes did not use the producer-consumer distinction in the talk, but it seems to me a nice way to crystallize her idea.)

the cover of Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style

The, Lopes said, I came across Raymond Queneau's playful little book, "Exercises in Style". Queneau constrains himself in many interesting ways while telling essentially the same story. Hmm... We could apply the same idea to programming! Let's do it.

Lopes picked a well-known problem, the common word problem famously solved in a Programming Pearls column more than twenty-five years. This is a fitting choice, because Jon Bentley included in that column a critique of Knuth's program by Doug McIlroy, who considered both engineering concerns and program style in his critique.

The problem is straightforward: identify and print the k most common terms that occur in a given text document, in decreasing order. For the rest of the talk, Lopes presented several programs that solve the problem, each written in a different style, showing code and highlighting its shape and boundaries.

Python was her language of choice for the examples. She was looking for a language that many readers would be able to follow and understand, and Python has the feel of pseudo-code about it. (I tell my students that it is the Pascal of their time, though I may as well be speaking of hieroglyphics.) Of course, Python has strengths and weaknesses that affect its fit for some styles. This is an unavoidable complication for all communication...

Also, Lopes did not give formal names to the styles she demonstrated. Apparently, at previous versions of this talk, audience members had wanted to argue over the names more than the styles themselves! Vowing not to make that mistake again, she numbered her examples for this talk.

That's what programmers do when they don't have good names.

In lieu of names, she asked the crowd to live-tweet to her what they thought each style is or should be called. She eventually did give each style a fun, informal name. (CS textbooks might be more evocative if we used her names instead of the formal ones.)

I noted eight examples shown by Lopes in the talk, though there may have been more:

  • monolithic procedural code -- "brain dump"
  • a Unix-style pipeline -- "code golf"
  • procedural decomposition with a sequential main -- "cook book"
  • the same, only with functions and composition -- "Willy Wonka"
  • functional decomposition, with a continuation parameter -- "crochet"
  • modules containing multiple functions -- "the kingdom of nouns"
  • relational style -- (didn't catch this one)
  • functional with decomposition and reduction -- "multiplexer"

Lopes said that she hopes to produce solutions using a total of thirty or so styles. She asked the audience for help with one in particular: logic programming. She said that she is not a native speaker of that style, and Python does not come with a logic engine built-in to make writing a solution straightforward.

Someone from the audience suggested she consider yet another style: using a domain-specific language. That would be fun, though perhaps tough to roll from scratch in Python. By that time, my own brain was spinning away, thinking about writing a solution to the problem in Joy, using a concatenative style.

Sometimes, it's surprising just how many programming styles and meaningful variations people have created. The human mind is an amazing thing.

The talk was, I think, a fun one for the audience. Lopes is writing a book based on the idea. I had a chance to review an early draft, and now I'm looking forward to the finished product. I'm sure I'll learn something new from it.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing, Patterns, Software Development, Teaching and Learning

October 04, 2013 3:12 PM

StrangeLoop: Rich Hickey on Channels and Program Design

[My notes on StrangeLoop 2013: Table of Contents]

Rich Hickey setting up for his talk

Rich Hickey spoke at one of the previous StrangeLoops I attended, but this was my first time to attend one of his talks in person. I took the shaky photo seen at the right as proof. I must say, he gives a good talk.

The title slide read "Clojure core.async Channels", but Hickey made a disclaimer upfront: this talk would be about what channels are and why Clojure has them, not the details of how they are implemented. Given that there were plenty of good compiler talks elsewhere at the conference, this was a welcome change of pace. It was also a valuable one, because many more people will benefit from what Hickey taught about program design than would have benefited from staring at screens full of Clojure macros. The issues here are important ones, and ones that few programmers understand very well.

The fundamental problem is this: Reactive programs need to be machines, but functions make bad machines. Even sequences of functions.

The typical solution to this problem these days is to decompose the system logic into a set of response handlers. Alas, this leads to callback hell, a modern form of spaghetti code. Why? Even though the logic has been decomposed into pieces, it is still "of a piece", essentially a single logical entity. When this whole is implemented across multiple handlers, we can't see it as a unit, or talk about it easily. We need to, though, because we need to design the state machine that it comprises.

Clojure's solution to the problem, in the form of core.async, is the channel. This is an implementation of Tony Hoare's communicating sequential process. One of the reasons that Hickey likes this approach is that it lets a program work equally well in fully threaded apps and in apps with macro-generated inversion of control.

Hickey then gave some examples of code using channels and talked a bit about the implications of the implementation for system design. For instance, the language provides handy put! and take! operators for integrating channels with code at the edge of non-core.async systems. I don't have much experience with Clojure, so I'll have to study a few examples in detail to really appreciate this.

For me, the most powerful part of the talk was an extended discussion of communication styles in program. Hickey focused on the trade-offs between direct communication via shared state and indirect communication via channels. He highlighted six or seven key distinctions between the two and how these affect the way a system works. I can't do this part of the talk justice, so I suggest you watch the video of the talk. I plan to watch it again myself.

I had always heard that Hickey was eminently quotable, and he did not disappoint. Here are three lines that made me smile:

  • "Friends don't let friends put logic in handlers."
  • "Promises and futures are the one-night stands" of asynchronous architecture.
  • "Unbounded buffers are a recipe for a bad program. 'I don't want to think about this bug yet, so I'll leave the buffer unbounded.'"

That last one captures the indefatigable optimism -- and self-delusion -- that characterizes so many programmers. We can fix that problem later. Or not.

In the end, this talk demonstrates how a good engineer approaches a problem. Clojure and its culture reside firmly in the functional programming camp. However, Hickey recognizes that, for the problem at hand, a sequence of functional calls is not the best solution. So he designs a solution that allows programmers to do FP where it fits best and to do something else where FP doesn't. That's a pragmatic way to approach problems.

Still, this solution is consistent with Clojure's overall design philosophy. The channel is a first-class object in the language. It converts a sequence of functional calls into data, whereas callbacks implement the sequence in code. As code, we see the sequence only at run-time. As data, we see it in our program and can use it in all the ways we can use any data. This consistent focus on making things into data is an attractive part of the Clojure language and the ecosystem that has been cultivated around it.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing, Software Development