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Been working intensively with Drupal for the past three or four weeks. Looking under the hood, seeing how everything is tied together and finding the dangerous little bits of clever that stick around in legacy code like razor-blades in candy-floss that, had they been a work of fiction, would have been dead little darlings long ago.

There is an accusation of abstraction fetishism. I think it's gone a bit past that stage. That was a symptom, like Lupus. It was the project's attempt to prevent the rampant growth of terratomatic module-creation and plugin-mania. If anything, Drupal resembles a pyramidal hierarchy of Matta-like abstraction married to a Tetsuo-like tendency to answer all problems with yet another module.

I'm reminded of Djikstra's summation of PL/1:
And if I have to describe the influence PL/1 can have on its users, the closest metaphor that comes to my mind is that of a drug. I remember from a symposium on higher level programming languages a lecture given in defense of PL/1 by a man who described himself as one of its devoted users. But within a one-hour lecture in praise of PL/1, he managed to ask for the addition of about 50 new "features," little supposing that the main source of his problems could very well be that it contained already far too many "features." The speaker displayed all the depressing symptoms of addiction, reduced as he was to the state of mental stagnation in which he could only ask for more, more, more.... When FORTRAN has been called an infantile disorder, full PL/1, with its growth characteristics of a dangerous tumor, could turn out to be a fatal disease


(I love "The Humble Programmer").

And it contains the best advice ever for people whose lot it is on earth to move the bits around:
We must not forget that it is not our business to make programs; it is our business to design classes of computations that will display a desired behavior.


Classic.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Jan. 22nd, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
Whoa, that Akira clip is mindblowing. (I never saw Akira through from beginning to end. Terrible confession, but there you are.)

barry_king
Jan. 23rd, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yes. Akira is a trial. I've seen it twice during college years and that's more than enough for me.

Don't get me wrong. I love long epic films (Lean, Fellini), but for some reason 2+ hours of anime is a little like trying to eat a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. Even if you do manage it, you feel a little ill afterwards.
asakiyume
Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
is a little like trying to eat a whole can of sweetened condensed milk

This simile really did make me laugh out loud. I think it was the thought of assaying the sweetened condensed milk.
barry_king
Jan. 23rd, 2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is a real-life thing. A childhood friend bet me fifty rupees I couldn't manage one. He won.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )