Opacity and PerlΒΆ

date:2006-02-07 11:51:22
category:Economics of Software

In my case, the opacity of Perl actually wasn’t entirely my opinion. I was contacted by folks that were struggling with Perl. In one case, they specifically lifted up the opacity problem. “If my partner gets hit by the bus, I can’t maintain these web sites.”

In the other case, the opacity was something they danced around. The backbone of their application is Perl. They have to make extensive changes. They can’t easily support those changes with the structure they have. Rather than touch the backbone, they want a far more sophisticated web front-end. That’s probably spending money in the wrong place. Simplifying or replacing the Perl coupled with incremental improvements to the web presentation may be a much smarter way to spend the money.

So, the opacity problem isn’t mine. Indeed, I can read Perl just fine.

However, I can’t read XSLT at all. I really have to struggle with it. I’ve often [link ] wondered about the lure of XML and XSLT and I just don’t see it.

I think we agree that opacity is a serious problem. While you may not see it in Perl, we both see the cost and complexity that stems from difficult-to-read software. The point of software is to capture knowledge. If you can’t read it, then how well was it captured?

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