[Humanist] 30.799 hands on

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Mar 2 08:22:55 CET 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 799.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2017 10:16:55 +0100
        From: Tim Smithers <tim.smithers at cantab.net>
        Subject: Re:  30.795 hands on
        In-Reply-To: <20170301062148.C69AD8AAB at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

I'm not of the Humanities, so I may be out of line here, and
saying the wrong things.  If this offends anybody, I sincerely
apologise.  This is not my intention.

For good artisans and engineers "beauty" is displayed by the
well-made-ness of their work.  It's not an optional extra.
And I don't think it's an optional extra for artists and their
work either.

Design patterns and their good use are important in other
kinds of engineering too, not just in Software Engineering.
In mechanism design, for example, the mechanical engineer is
expected to know these patterns, and to use them well, and to
know what their advantages, limits, and weaknesses are, as
well as their typical modes of wear, failure, and repair.

An important part of artisanal and engineering practice is
learning how well things really work and how they actually
fail.  When the stuff we make things from is governed by
physical law, this is not so hard to do, with care and
discipline.  But with software stuff, whose behaviour is
hardly governed by any laws, I would say, it seems to be
harder to get to know what works well, why, and in what
conditions, and to know why, when, and how things ware out and
fail.  Even detecting failure can be hard.

For these reasons, I would say, the "beauty" of the code is
even more important.  This is especially true, I think, for
stand alone projects.  Software built for these projects may
not be used by many or any others.  Others' use always helps
to identify poor design, weaknesses, and failures.

In all research and scholarship, as in any other professional
practice, the quality of its outcomes is directly dependent
upon the quality of the tools used to do the work, and how
well the tools are used.  Poor tools, no matter how well used,
cannot deliver good research and scholarship.  A
responsibility of researchers and scholars is thus to always
be sure that the quality of the tools they use is the best
possible.

Isn't this what is important?  Not how much can be saved by
not letting in "artists" and "beauty" seekers.

I'll be happy to be corrected!

Best regards,

Tim

> On 01 Mar 2017, at 07:21, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:
> 
>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 795.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
>  [1]   From:    Amir Simantov <wawina at gmail.com>                          (32)
>        Subject: Re:  30.787 hands on
> 
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:34:38 -0500
>        From: Amir Simantov <wawina at gmail.com>
>        Subject: Re:  30.787 hands on
>        In-Reply-To: <20170228061231.B871B8A7E at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> 
> A side note: Be careful from "artists" and "beauty" seekers if you have a
> stand alone **project** to build; they will need three times development
> hours ( == time and money). I know, I used to be one of them many years
> ago. Now, before you get me wrong - good design patterns are very important
> and good and cost effective when you deal with a **product** that will
> always develop and change; this is because the pattern, once built,
> decreases the time you need to maintain, fix and test both that the new
> code works and that it did not break something else (OCP - open-closed
> principle).
> 
> Amir
> Once a C, C++, C#, Java, Dot-Net developer, now just building Drupal :)




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