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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: ODF Command Line Tools -- Request for community feedback
Date Mon, 28 May 2012 18:32:54 GMT
On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM, Noah Tilton <> wrote:
> On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 3:29 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
>> On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM, Noah Tilton <> wrote:
>> <snip>
>> Good thoughts.
>> Aside from the level of abstraction, and how it maps to the problem
>> domain, I think the style of language is another important components.
>>  For example,  even if you had a perfect API, if it is coupled with a
>> Haskell-like functional syntax, it will be an impediment to a
>> "power-user" who is familiar with only imperative languages.
>> You can slice and dice it in many ways, but one way to think of the spectrum is:
>> 1) end user programming == simple record and play-back macros,
>> spreadsheet functions
>> 2) Power users, some web designers == simple imperative Javascript or
>> shell scriptsing. Can copy a routine to reuse and make simple
>> modifications to it.  Might read a programming book.
>> 3) Application developers == a professional working with C#, maybe
>> Java, or another modern language.  Builds complete solutions from
>> existing parts, gluing them together where possible.  Focuses not on
>> the individual components, but on integrating the pieces with the
>> "business logic" that the custom requires.  Keeps up with the latest
>> trends and techniques.
>> 4) System programmers == C/C++ programmer.
>> Skills increase as you go up the spectrum, as does cost.  Aiming too
>> high makes a tool have a smaller audience.
>> I think the ODF Toolkit today is at the app developer level in our
>> "Simple API".  But because it is in a Java syntax, that puts it out of
>> reach for level 2 developers.
>>> Therefore, a good/useful DSL is terse, simple, and expressive.  It
>>> utilizes users' vocabulary to describe the domain.
>>> So my question to the list is, what kind of "nouns" and "verbs" should
>>> be part of the language we are creating?  If you are an ODF Toolkit
>>> user, what kind of language do you currently use, or would you feel
>>> comfortable using, to describe your activities?
>> One possible level is to look at what the developer at level 1 and 2
>> already knows.  They don't know ODF. But they know word processors and
>> spreadsheets and presentation graphics.  They know the abstractions of
>> an end user:   sheets, slides, paragraphs.  Their "verbs" are the
>> actions of the menu in their editors.
> That's an interesting way to think about it; reminds me of something I
> read a few months ago via hacker news:

That is a nice article.  Thanks.

Another angle of it is to look at the labor market.  I consistently
get feedback from ISV/VAR business partners that they appreciate the
power of a C++ or Java solution, but those skills are a premium in the
market, and that the "sweet spot" in the labor market is for app
developer level skills.  They can find contractors with those skills
much more easily.

>> -Rob
>>> Thanks,
>>> --
>>> Noah
> --
> Noah

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