Archive for July 2008

Growing a language

by Ulf on July 4th, 2008

Michael Ernest brought this video of a talk by Guy Steele (him of Scheme fame, for you SICP fans, but he’s now with Sun, working on Java) to my attention. It’s about languages that are too small, about why -when creating a language- neither a small nor a large one will do, and what to do about that. It’s also got a really nice twist to it around the 10 minute mark, where there’s an auditorium-sized “Aha!” effect. You won’t regret watching it: Guy Lewis Steele at OOPSLA ’98 (PostScript)

Shrinking a language

Ten years earlier Niklaus Wirth wrote From Modula to Oberon, in which he outlined why in that case the evolution from a language to its successor involved removing more language features than adding new ones. Since Pascal is mentioned in Steele’s talk as an example of a language that didn’t grow much, it’s interesting to see that both Modula and Oberon included a module facility that allowed them to grow seamlessly from the start.

Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus To Our House

by Ulf on July 3rd, 2008

From Bauhaus to Our House(This book review has been sitting in my Out box for a while. Finally I’ve got a place to publish it, and it puts the pressure on Map to publish her review of The Architecture of Happiness, which she promised to do if I wrote this one.)

Tom Wolfe does not like where American architecture has gone in the 20th century. It started out all right with Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and others, but according to Wolfe, it took an ugly turn in the 1920s with the arrival of the Bauhaus-influenced International Style, which evolved into what came to be known as Modern Architecture. Then it got much worse in the 1930s when the Bauhäusler themselves fled Europe and made the USA their new home. Led by Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, they had a profound influence on a generation of American architects, and their ideas dominated architectural thinking for the next 50 years.

(more…)

First post!

by Ulf on July 3rd, 2008

You’re witnessing the birth of a new blog. Ah, the excitement, the adventure! I can almost hear the world holding its breath. Hmm … perhaps not. And it’s not really new, either – my co-host Map has had a blog under this name for years. Now she’s moved it here and has taken me on as a co-conspirator. We’re graciously hosted by Frank Carver, who has a prolific blog of his own. Thanks Frank! (We all know each other from JavaRanch, by the way.)

So who am I and what am I going to write about? Some of the basic facts about me can be found on my web site. My interests range far and wide, though, and I plan to write about stuff that didn’t have a place on my site. Anything goes, really. I’ve had interesting discussions with Map on any number of topics, and we hope to recreate that here in public, and be inspired by one another.

On with the show!