A Modest Proposal

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by TonyMc, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. TonyMc

    TonyMc Guest

    As we all now use widescreen televisions, XBoxes and Kinects, I would
    like to propose a new and potentially much more efficient method for C
    programming. Instead of boring old keyboards and ASCII characters, what
    about the use of *gestures* to enter our program code? I know that
    similar (but much less adventurous) suggestions have been made recently,
    and I acknowledge that I have learned from them, but everyone should
    realise that this is really a dramatically new developlment in the
    history of the C programming language, and the standards committee will
    be forced by the sheer beauty and logical necessity of my proposal to
    halt work immediately on the forthcoming standard and devote all their
    attention and effort to realising my proposal immediately.

    Proposal: in future, all C programs should be entered by standing in
    front of the TV and making appropriate (and occasionally inappropriate)
    gestures. The Kinect will then interpret these gestures and translate
    the code into an intermediate form suitable for input to a C compiler.
    For example, if I hold my right middle finger like this, the software
    should insert a "not-equals" symbol, which may or may not be the same as
    the digraph != . If I wave my left hand like this, I evidently wish to
    invoke the strlen() function on the string my right hand is pointing to.
    (Note: the immediacy and intuitiveness of the connection between pointers
    and the act of "pointing at" should simplify discussion on comp.lang.c
    enormously.) If I turn my back on the television and expose my behind,
    the software should insert "void main()". If I smile at the screen, my
    evident intention is "return EXIT_SUCCESS", while a frown would signify
    "return EXIT_FAILURE". If I were to put my left hand... here... and my
    right arm twisted like... this... (sorry, I am no spring chicken and
    such contortions are not without a little discomfort) the editor would
    insert a call to a Batcher's odd-even merge (recursive version) on an
    array of "const investment_t*" items. At this point the efficiency
    advantage of this proposed method becomes compelling.

    In anticipation of some objections, I must acknowledge here that there
    may be some disadvantages to the proposed method of coding. I ignore
    the fact that there may be some Luddite programmers who refuse to
    embrace new technology, their objections are based on prejudice and
    paranoia and will not be countenanced. I also ignore all objections
    from people who disagree with me - that is sufficient grounds for
    considering them incompetent. However, I am keen to allow proper
    debate, in the interest of further developing my ideas, so I give proper
    consideration to the objection that this input method is both culturally
    specific and prone to misinterpretation. The first objection relates to
    this gesture, which, as everyone knows, in France means "please serve me
    steak tartare with a side of dauphinoise", while in Ecuador it can be
    taken to mean "there is a dead coypu in my bed". I am sensitive to this
    objection but believe that it can be shown to be equivalent to the
    problem of getting everyone to agree on an interpretation of
    Shakespeare's Macbeth, and therefore is solvable in principle. The
    second objection is more serious. I have myself inadvertently invoked
    undefined behaviour while scratching thus or waving like this at the
    postman, so I can see that extra care is needed from the programmer.
    But is that problem really anything new? Isn't it just as easy to type
    "void *p = 0; int q = *p;" accidentally and never notice what we have
    done? However, again this is solvable in principle by better diagnosis
    of the programmer's twitches and by making allowance for the possibility
    that a cat might stroll by the controller.

    I am sure you will agree that this is a demonstrably better method of
    writing C. If you disagree for other than argumentative reasons, I
    welcome a discussion and promise only to insult people who refuse to be
    persuaded that my way is best.

    Tony
     
    TonyMc, Jul 7, 2011
    #1
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  2. TonyMc

    Angel Guest

    On 2011-07-07, TonyMc <> wrote:
    > As we all now use widescreen televisions, XBoxes and Kinects, I would
    > like to propose a new and potentially much more efficient method for C
    > programming. Instead of boring old keyboards and ASCII characters, what
    > about the use of *gestures* to enter our program code? [...]


    I think we should build a programming interface based on reading
    brainwaves, so we can finally get computers to do what we mean instead
    of what we say.

    By the way, you owe me a keyboard. :)


    --
    "C provides a programmer with more than enough rope to hang himself.
    C++ provides a firing squad, blindfold and last cigarette."
    - seen in comp.lang.c
     
    Angel, Jul 7, 2011
    #2
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  3. Angel <> writes:
    > On 2011-07-07, TonyMc <> wrote:
    >> As we all now use widescreen televisions, XBoxes and Kinects, I would
    >> like to propose a new and potentially much more efficient method for C
    >> programming. Instead of boring old keyboards and ASCII characters, what
    >> about the use of *gestures* to enter our program code? [...]

    >
    > I think we should build a programming interface based on reading
    > brainwaves, so we can finally get computers to do what we mean instead
    > of what we say.
    >
    > By the way, you owe me a keyboard. :)


    "I want a computer that does what I want it to do without being told."

    "Then what does it need you for?"

    --
    Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
    Nokia
    "We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this."
    -- Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, "Yes Minister"
     
    Keith Thompson, Jul 7, 2011
    #3
  4. TonyMc

    Shao Miller Guest

    On 7/7/2011 07:32, TonyMc wrote:
    > [...use gestures to develop C programs...]


    Very funny.

    Your parody exaggerates, as can be expected of a parody. If this
    attempt at a demonstration doesn't meet your criteria for success,
    there're probably more ways to try. :)

    With this suggestion of how stale C programming input methods are,
    you've certainly signaled an ... _ _ _ ..., man.
     
    Shao Miller, Jul 8, 2011
    #4
  5. TonyMc

    tim Guest

    On 7/07/2011 9:32 PM, TonyMc wrote:

    > Proposal: in future, all C programs should be entered by standing in
    > front of the TV and making appropriate (and occasionally inappropriate)
    > gestures.



    So that's what this newfangled object-orientated stuff is about then. :)
     
    tim, Jul 8, 2011
    #5
  6. TonyMc

    gwowen Guest

    On Jul 7, 12:32 pm, TonyMc <> wrote:

    > I am sure you will agree that this is a demonstrably better method of
    > writing C.  If you disagree for other than argumentative reasons, I
    > welcome a discussion and promise only to insult people who refuse to be
    > persuaded that my way is best.


    Bravo!
     
    gwowen, Jul 8, 2011
    #6
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