Re: Extending my question. Was: The relational model and relational algebra - why did SQL become the industry standard?

From: Lauri Pietarinen <>
Date: 12 Mar 2003 22:20:34 -0800
Message-ID: <> (Jan Hidders) wrote in message news:<>...
> Bob Badour wrote:
> >Jan is just being contrary to suit his emotional needs.
> Absolutely. I get highly upset if I see all the sloppy reasoning, sweeping
> generalizations and unwarranted assumptions in an area that I happen to love
> and know a thing or two about. I don't blame Lauri for making highly
> debatable claims such as that optimizing GOTO code is harder and compilers
> for GOTO languages are necessarily bigger and buggier, because he does not
> claim to be an expert.

I will readily admit being no expert on optimising or compiler design.  There are , however, two sides to this issue: the theoretical and the practical.
In practice all "features" of a computer system have a cost even if they are easy to implement. "The Mythical Man Month" by Frederik Brook discusses this fenomemon beautifully. Also of interest is the Turing Award Lecture by Tony Hoare, which shows how "featurism" killed Algol.


I'm afraid the same is happening to SQL.

So while strictly speaking I am (presumably) dead wrong on the effect of GOTO's on optimisability, it is true in practice that every feature that can be removed from a language without effecting the power is a reason to selebrate. Of course the effect of banning GOTO's is far larger to the human programmer who

  • does not have to learn the syntax
  • is not tempted in creating error prone programs

> But Chris Date does, and by including it in an
> article of his he gives it some authority and might mislead some people into
> believing that these claims are actually well-founded. If I would have
> included such a quote in an article of mine, it would have been torn to
> threads by the reviewers.

Or they could have just told him to remove that quote. Do you feel in general that the whole article has no merit, or was it just my quote?

Anyway, the fact that reviewers aprove of something is no guarantee that is sensible.

Lauri Pietarinen Received on Thu Mar 13 2003 - 07:20:34 CET

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