Perl 6 - the future is here, just unevenly distributed

IRC log for #marpa, 2017-05-21

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Time Nick Message
00:04 ronsavage joined #marpa
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01:48 Topic for #marpa is now Start here: http://savage.net.au/Marpa.html - Code paste/run: https://f.perlbot.pl/#marpa - Jeffrey's Marpa site: http://jeffreykegler.github.io/Marpa-web-site/ - IRC log: http://irclog.perlgeek.de/marpa/today - Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYKVfGBtfTqbs1JdYq-dc5g
01:50 idiosyncrat The logger censored my previous, which I might take as a sign that I'm rambling, but I'll be stubborn.
01:50 idiosyncrat My work with the transition to Kollos is a kind of experiment in project management / maintenance I've longed wanted to set tried out.
01:50 idiosyncrat I've long thought that it should be possible to "maintain" your way to better systems -- that is, just make sure that each change moved you closer to it, ...
01:51 idiosyncrat rather than the usual thing, which is to make the change in some convenient way, incur the "technical debt" and put up with a system which is gradually getting worse.
01:52 idiosyncrat It's sort of getting a new system via "technical savings" -- you accumulate more and more and voila! you have a new system.
01:53 idiosyncrat I've been doing that with the Marpa::R3 / Kollos project -- the immediate task is a better Marpa, and Kollos will be the result of the "technical savings".
01:53 idiosyncrat In this context, it's been a long process, but I'm very happy with how it's worked out.
01:54 idiosyncrat OTOH, as a general techique of project management, this same experience suggests the "systems transition via technical savings" approach will rarely work in most real working environments.
01:56 idiosyncrat Kollos / Marpa::R3 is a 1-person project, so there's no issues of coordinating the changes, making sure one person is not unraveling the web another is weaving, etc.
01:57 idiosyncrat I realize that in a multi-person project, the required coordination, even assuming a team which is excellent at working together, would be very time-consuming -- so much so that it would eat up most or all of the benefit to the organization of any "technical savings"
01:58 idiosyncrat Throw in more realistic assumptions, that teams have some degree of internal friction, ...
01:58 idiosyncrat and that's there's turnover ...
01:58 idiosyncrat and the coordination issues really become a show-stopper.
01:59 idiosyncrat Team turnover is particularly worth considering, because even if it does not actually happen, it's a huge, uninsurable risk for the "technical savings" approach.
02:00 idiosyncrat Some sudden change in the team could wipe out almost all of the "technical investment" overnight.
02:02 idiosyncrat Documentation is not a solution here, because the documentation of all the considerations would be immense, constantly changing, and very complex even on a per-page basis.
02:03 idiosyncrat It'd be like the old joke -- "Our team had a problem -- it was losing track of the code.  So we created full documentation of it.  Now we have two problems."
02:04 idiosyncrat Joking aside, this is a real problem with documentation of a changing codebase.  Documentation does not just double the time required ...
02:05 idiosyncrat it must be coordinated with the code, and I'd argue that this required time quadratic in the length of code and documentation.
02:07 idiosyncrat Anyway, the "technical savings" approach to Marpa::R3 / Kollos I am convinced is a big success.  But I don't think it's a technique that'd work in most organizations, even very smoothly functioning ones.
02:09 idiosyncrat For those, "maintain it at minimum cost, and when the system gets unmaintainable, start over from scratch", bad as it is, is probably the best approach.
02:09 idiosyncrat FWIW, that seems to have been Larry's approach with Perl 5/6.
02:11 * idiosyncrat initially had the start of this discussion thrown away by the logger.  Maybe he should have listened. :-)
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