A silly analogy

From: Roy Hann <specially_at_processed.almost.meat>
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 09:22:18 -0500
Message-ID: <edidneCEcJAHcoLXnZ2dnUVZ8uydnZ2d_at_pipex.net>



A thread called "ID field as logical address" has just started. I have an unpleasant feeling that it is going to lead to a lot of squabbling over how doing a silly thing is silly, and little else. I don't want to get involved in it. However I do want to share a couple of examples which illustrate why I instinctively prefer to avoid synthetic IDs whenever it is advantageous to do so.

Imagine you are a cook working for an agency and you get sent to diffferent kitchens every day. On the first day you are presented with this recipe:

Take 1 cup of whatever you find on the top shelf in the third cannister from the right, and add 1 cup of whatever is in the first bottle on the bottom shelf in the fridge, and mix in a pinch of the stuff in the bag on the floor to the left of the fire exit.

The next day, you are told:

Take 1 cup of whatever you find in the container labelled 23, and add 1 cup of whatever is in the container labelled 1, and mix in a pinch of the stuff from the container labelled 1057.

And on the third day you are told:

Take 1 cup of white flour, and add 1 cup of water, and mix in a pinch of yeast.

Which of these has the least scope for going wrong before you even start cooking? Which of these allows you to understand what you are doing? Which of these allows the kitchen to be reorganized, or completely demolished and rebuilt elsewhere without any changes? Which of these is universally comprehensible?

-- 
Roy
Received on Fri May 29 2009 - 16:22:18 CEST

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