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What about the HECS platforms?

Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff 2009-10-17

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Anyone who has stayed in the same business for some years, have seen the recurrent changes in fashion. You'll also experience how people try to sell you the little black dress as something new. People invent a lot of things. Some of them are not that innovative. Some ideas required further development before they could take off. Some ideas were right, but the time wasn't.

The legacy is something that is accumululating behind you. What someone (usually someone else) acquired or developed. You don't like the legacy, in particular not its documentation, but you have to maintain it.

Once upon a time just about every script on the internet was written in the PERL programming language. Then just about every introductory programming course choose java as the prime example of an OO language. Just about any project should have some object oriented modelling, and J2EE was the name of the game. There were noone available for the legacy.

The HECS platforms

Then things happen again. PHP had been there all along. Many of the largest sites hade been using it for years for front-end work. The back-end could be written in JAVA but C, C++, perl and python are used. For newer sites there are languages like Haskell and Erlang, H and E in HECS. The remaining characters are C as in Clojure and S for Scala

Mankind is stratified into those who are early adopters and those that are more hesitant. Some of the early adopters buy the little black dress over and over again. In a sense I belong to the hesitant ones; novelty per se does not add to my interest. On the other hand I can get very enthusiastic to learn about ideas and technologies that I find elegant and new to me. One such idea, which is a true design classic, is functional programming. It isn't strictly speaking new to me. I've studied the Scheme programming language, and I'm using XSLT and Xquery.

I'm very impressed by the elegance of the Haskell programming language, and the community that has been built around it. Hackage is Haskell's answer to PERL's cpan, PHP's PEAR and Python's pypi. The Haskell developers seems to be most advanced when it comes to building an open-source community. I do believe that Erlang is the platform which has the best track record; it has been used in Ericsson's Open Telecom Platform, for building ATM switches, couchDB -- a modern cloud computing classic.

Still, I'm going for Haskell. I want a language which isn't using any virtual machine. The referential transparency (purity) is just a wonderful idea. I want something really new and elegant, such as a little black dress.

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My name is Sigfrid Lundberg. The stuff I publish here may, or may not, be of interest for anyone else.

On this site there is material on photography, music, literature and other stuff I enjoy in life. However, most of it is related to my profession as an Internet programmer and software developer within the area of digital libraries at the Royal Library, Copenhagen (Denmark) and, before that, Lund university (Sweden).

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