Archive for November 15, 2013

Data typing might be important for someone

Excellent post and interesting discussion at Neil Brown’s blog, on the question of the role of types for professional software developers and for students.  I agree with his points — I see why professional software developers find types valuable, but I see little value for novice programmers nor for end-user programmers.  I have yet to use a typing system that I found useful, that wasn’t just making me specify details (int vs Integer vs Double vs Float) that were far lower level than I cared about nor wanted to care about.

Broadly, what I’m wondering is: are dynamically/flexibly typed systems a benefit to learners by hiding complexity, or are they a hindrance because they hide the types that are there underneath? (Aside from the lambda calculus and basic assembly language, I can’t immediately think of any programming languages that are truly untyped. Python, Javascript et al do have types; they are just less apparent and more flexible.) Oddly, I haven’t found any research into these specific issues, which I suspect is because these variations tend to be per-language, and there are too many other confounds in comparing, say, Python and Java — they have many more differences than their type system.

via The Importance of Types | Academic Computing.

November 15, 2013 at 1:52 am 43 comments

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