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Jonathan Robie wrote:
> Rick Marshall wrote:
>> this is a very interesting observation of yours michael. it harks
>> back to the early days of 3gl programming and the introduction of
>> recursive algorithms to languages like algol/pascal/c. programmers
>> then (and probably now) have difficulty with recursion. i'm sure if
>> you take any set of programs and anlayse them for recursive
>> opportunities you will find they exist but hardly ever exploited.
> [!!! snip !!!]
>> xslt is by definition a recursive style of programming which will
>> appeal to a small group of disturbed individuals like myself, but on
>> the whole it won't. it's inevitable that non-recursive procedural
>> syntaxes will be proposed to replace it and will prevail.
> But probably not for writing stylesheets that convert TEI or DocBook -
> and one of the reasons is that these tasks are more easily done using
> a highly recursive approach.
>> it would probably be very good to get the w3c to have the standards /
>> techniques we use examined by psychologists to get some perspective
>> on how well mortal programmers (let alone others) will be able to
>> comprehend and then use the standards and tools devoloped.
> Are you suggesting that no standards organization should develop a
> language that uses recursion if most programmers don't find recursion
not at all. there's some algorithms that are just too hard to express
any other way, or too difficult to implement. all i'm saying is that
programmers (people actually) tend to think linearly, perhaps checking
out options. but it is not natural to think recursively so it is a
serious training issue. and i just don't see much evidence of recursive
thought training, even within colleges these days.
what i am saying is that lack of understanding, and underutilisation of
the technique means that there will always be a tendency to replace the
more difficult to understand recursive expression with a, possibly less
functional, linear expression.
perhaps we could do an informal survey here and ask when was the last
time you wrote a recursive function? and how many non-recursive
functions to do you write for every recursive function? how many
recursive functions could you have used instead?
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