I have long been frustrated with all the different text mark up languages and word processors that I have used. There are many reasons for this; but the biggest issue is that markups (including very powerful ones like TeX) are not targeted at the kind of stuff I write.
Nowadays, it seems archaic to still be thinking in terms of sections and chapters. The world is linked and that applies to the kind of technical writing that I do.
I believe that the issue is fundamental. A concept like "section" is inherently about the structure of a document. But, what I want to focus on are concepts like "example", "definition", and "function type".
A second problem is that, in a complex environment, the range of documentation that is available to an individual reader is actually composed of multiple sources. Javadoc exemplifies this: an individual library may be documented using Javadoc into a single HTML tree. However, most programmers require access to multiple…
It seems to me that one of the basic questions that haunt AI researchers is 'what have we missed?' Assuming that the goal of AI is to create intelligence with similar performance to natural intelligence; what are the key ingredients to such a capability?
There is an old saw It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill There is a lot of truth to that; it effectively amounts to 10 years of more-or-less full-time focus. This has been demonstrated for many fields of activity from learning an instrument, learning a language or learning to program.
But it does not take 10,000 hours to figure out if it is raining outside, and to decide to carry an umbrella. What is the difference?
One informal way of distinguishing the two forms of learning is to categorize one as `muscle memory' and the other as 'declarative memory'. Typically, skills take a lot of practice to acquire, whereas declarative learning is instant. Skills are more permanent too: you tend not to forget a skill; but it is…
This is something of a counterintuitive idea: Comments should be meaningless
What, I hear you ask, are you talking about? Comments should communicate to the reader! At least that is the received conventional wisdom handed does over the last few centuries (decades at least).
Well, certainly, if you are programming in Assembler, or C, then yes, comments should convey meaning because the programming language cannot
So, conversely, as a comment on the programming language itself, anytime the programmer feels the imperative to write a meaningful comment it is because the language is not able to convey the intent of the programmer.
I have already noticed that I write far fewer comments in my Java programs than in my C programs. That is because Java is able to capture more of my meaning and comments would be superfluous.
So, if a language were able to capture all of my intentions, I would never need to write a comment.