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. Hence the title of this blog.
It is well documented that people’s #1 fear is speaking in public ! Effective and efficient public speaking is a whole topic in its own right; but a few simple tips might help to both improve your effectiveness and help to reduce the anxiety. You may be called on to talk about your work at very short notice; or you may have a week’s notice; and you may be required to give a formal slide show or just a brief verbal update. Many, if not most of the issues, are the same. The Hook Newspaper editors call the first paragraph of an article ‘the hook’. Its meant to hook you into reading the rest of the piece. On the other hand, the classical ‘say what you are going to say, say it, and say what you said’ approach gives people plenty of time to switch off. The hook may be playful, it may be controversial, but it must communicate why the listener should pay attention. The Line Its a conversation! Even if no one says anything they are listening and thinking; and maybe replying to you in their head
Generic types, as can now be seen in all the major programming languages have a flip side that has yet to be widely appreciated: existential types. Variables whose types are generic may not be modified within a generic function (or class): they can be kept in variables, they can be passed to other functions (provided they too have been supplied to the generic function), but other than that they are opaque. Again, when a generic function (or class) is used, then the actual type binding for the generic must be provided – although that type may also be generic, in which case the enclosing entity must also be generic. Existential types are often motivated by modules. A module can be seen to be equivalent to a record with its included functions: except that modules also typically encapsulate types too. Abstract data types are a closely related topic that also naturally connect to existential types (there is an old but still very relevant and readable article on the topic Abstract types have