It's even worse than it appears.
Today's song: Can't find my way home. #
Try to give people who have earned the benefit of the doubt, the benefit. Save outbursts of anger for when there's a real need to alert the other person to imminent danger. Try to not be offended. You want a more civil net? Be the change you wish to see in the world.#
On NPR this morning a question that has a simple answer, but no one can seem to find it. How did the flower children of the 60s become the Boomers of the 90s and 00s? Not a good question, because that isn't what happened. Hippies were a very small part of the Boomer generation. George W. Bush is a Boomer, but not a hippie, then or now. And sure, some hippies didn't drop out, but then a bunch of them did. My uncle, for example. He really did live the dream of the hippies. As I read the Lies book, I come to appreciate that there are people applying the scientific method to history, and not accepting the simple and wrong stories of heroes and villains, weak and strong, the savages and the civilized. BTW, some of the hippies became programmers. That's a whole other thread to pick up. That's why the freedoms of the net and the web persist to this day. A fair number of people believe in them, still, and follow the grain, instead of trying to build forts. #
One more thing, my disappointment with the EFF, as I discussed yesterday, is that they started off with the hippie ideal, the three founders were immersed in it, but as the EFF grew, they let billionaire monopolists set the agenda. I wanted them to tell the story of podcasting as it was created, by following the grain of the web, not by throwing huge money and installed base at the idea. Sometimes soft power is the way to get something done. They wouldn't even listen, that's how little respect they have for the individual. Why should they, the most I can contribute is a few thousand, Google can contribute millions. Imagine what Bernie Sanders would say. The EFF is a prime example, imho, of flower children losing their way. #
New version of LO2 this morning with a few minor fixes. As before if you spot problems, please report them here. #
  • First thanks to Allen Wirfs-Brock for his comments on the evolution process for JavaScript. I wanted to let his ideas settle in for a couple of days before responding. #
    • I applaud the rule of "don't break existing code." We had the same rule in the RSS world. It was very controversial with some. They wanted to break it. That's what the big debate was about. On one side, mine, trying to maintain continuity, because I and others were developing and deploying software to users that built on RSS. We couldn't afford to change things just for the sake of change. And we had a lot at stake in preserving simplicity, because that kept the barrier to entry low. The more different ways there were to do something, the harder it would be to enter the market, and the leaders could become complacent. We've all seen how markets stagnate when the leaders are protected. I didn't want to see that happen.#
    • We had the same rule in the Frontier world . We called it Rule 1, and it was simply this: Don't Break Users. As a joke Rule #1a was: Don't Break Dave. That was meant to tell the team this was personal. If my code was broken, I would probably raise my voice. The rule came about because the guy who was working on the core code would routinely break the upper-level code. To him, the core was never finished, and all the work we were doing at upper levels was just to test his stuff. So he didn't really feel it. I think that's true of many other developers. They don't get that the people who build on their tech are skilled in ways they can't comprehend (and of course vice versa). That's the power of layering tech. It becomes virtually impossible without the No Breakage rule. And you can see it in the market. Good ideas from previous generations are nowhere to be found in today's systems. Because someone wiped the slate clean without any idea how much had been built on it. #
      • BTW there's a great story about this in Soul of a New Machine. They were shocked when they saw real people using their product. They had never imagined it, and it felt wrong to them.#
    • I have another rule -- "One way of doing something is better than two, no matter how much better the second way is." This is a variant of the famous XKCD cartoon, and of Postel's robustness principle. Postel says be conservative in what you send. I say one way is better than two. Applied to JavaScript, adding the arrow syntax was a mistake. It didn't add any new expressive power to the language, and it meant anyone who needs to read code (i.e. everyone who develops) now has to understand two ways of doing the same thing. Even worse, newbies now have to learn two ways, and they have to learn when to use which way, and all the explaining avoids the truth -- it really doesn't make a difference. #
    • "One way is better than two" is another instance of Worse Is Better. Stop trying to make it better. Because that just makes it worse. Good postulates are true from every angle. #
    • Another story I like to tell is when we were working on the names for things in XML-RPC the rule was we had to come up with the worst name for each element. So if you thought you had a better name, everyone would laugh. Heh, we don't want that. It's in the groundrules. 💥#
    • BTW, I also always use the first form for defining functions, although when I was new to JS, I sometimes used the second form. But the vast majority of my codebase uses form 1. #
    • Thanks for the pointer to eslint. It's on my list of things to explore. Right now I have my JS profile committed to memory. But I should formalize it. #
    • See also: Rules for standards-makers. #

© 1994-2020 Dave Winer.

Last update: Saturday July 11, 2020; 9:40 PM EDT.

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