Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Java's problem is that Jidigava idigis gididibidigeridigish

I posted a while back about how ruby's syntax is better for designing software than java because it removes extra language cruft and enables developers to write more succinct and direct code. A common response to this from detractors is that "it's only three extra characters" and "my IDE can automatically generate that code for me". Sitting at the train station today reading a comment from someone that said something similar to "geeze, if you've got thousands of lines of code, why do you care about a couple of letters and a parenthesis or curly brace here and there?". I started thinking about why I care and discovered the reason: With those little three letters here and there, your code literally becomes a type of Gibberish

In gibberish, you use simple rules to add extra characters here and there (sounds familiar) to create and quite confusing language that is a 1 for 1 direct translation to/from english. While gibberish, pig latin, and other language games are entertaining past-times to kill summer afternoons and baffle outsiders when you converse using them, MOST folks wouldn't subscribe to The New York times translated into gibberish. More importantly, almost nobody would agree that writing a blog post in gibberish is worth the effort. So java programmers, instead of arguing about how "it doesn't matter", lower your defenses and look around at alternatives available to you (there are a lot).

As a graphic illustration (and a bit extreme, I admit), the first sentence of this blog post translated to my best attempt at idig/adig gibberish:

Idigi pidigostiged idiga whidigile badagack adigabagout hadigow ridiguby's sidigyntadigax idigis bidigettidigetter fidigor didigesidigignigiging sadigoftwidigare thatigan jadigavadaga bidicadigause idigit ridigemidigoves idigextridiga ladigangidiguage crididguft adigand idigenadigables didigevidigevladigopidigigers tidigo wridigite madigore sadiguccidiginct adigand didigiridigect cadigode.

I'm pretty sure the "plain english" version is probably better to communicate an idea if the intent is to communicate clearly. The only thing I did to render that above sentence was add "idig" or "adig" after the initial consonant of each syllable and put it at the front of the vowel for syllables that start with a vowel. This is very simple and we could probably create a word plug-in to make it super easy to translate normal english to gibberish with the click of a button.

That having been said, if there was a subculture that wrote and spoke exclusively in gibberish, wouldn't normal english speakers/writers also question their choice of languages? After all, it's adding extra syllables and letters that don't provide any direct value. In fact, the whole value of gibberish (other than entertainment) is that it's MORE difficult to understand, why would we ever argue that this is a good thing or "Not a problem (tm)".


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, I discovered that your post was gibberish, and I managed to improve it massively. Please comment if you think it is an improvement.

Improved version:

Posted while back how ruby's syntax better designing software than java - removes language cruft, enables write succinct, direct code. Common response that "it's only three extra characters", "my IDE can automatically generate that code for me". Sitting train station today reading "geeze, if you've got thousands of lines of code, why do you care about a couple of letters and a parenthesis or curly brace here and there?". Thinking why care, discovered reason: Those three letters, code becomes Gibberish.

Mike Mainguy said...

+1 Funny