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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: [xml-dev] OFFTOPIC: the dangers of shortsightedness

Actually, there's a fairly simple razor that has served me
pretty well over the years:
     Build the simplest program you want,
     but get the stored data structures right.    (01)

When the data formats are good, you can change and
evolve the manipulating program(s) practically forever.
But data structures that don't give you the flexibility you
need can be murder.    (02)

The naming problem Jack posted is essentially a data
structure problem (what format for name data). The
limits give you fits, and programs tend to depend on those
limits in ways that create a long ripples.    (03)

In today's world, I would add "interchange structures" as
an important element in the data design.    (04)

"Garold (Gary) L. Johnson" wrote:    (05)

> Jack,
> Interesting article. Makes a definite point about the trade-offs between
> "good enough for now" and "what is really needed".
> Also interesting when taken in conjunction with the Extreme Programming
> viewpoint of "do the simplest thing that could possibly work". Clearly
> sometimes there is merit in getting it right the first time, or, at least,
> prior to releasing it to the public.
> Consider this in regard to the entire design process -- what elements of the
> design are likely to persist or change over time and warrant a "do it right"
> versus a "simplest workable" approach?
> Thanks,
> Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
> >From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
> >To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> >
> >Warning: only philosophically on topic, no ObXML content inside.
> >
> >The naming of stars is a difficult matter, not one of your everyday
> >holiday games.  The sky is divided into 88 arbitrary areas of varying
> >size called constellations, and ordinary stars are named in order of
> >brightness by a Greek letter followed by the name of the constellation
> >(in Latin, traditionally in the genitive case).  Thus Alpha Centauri is
> >the brightest star in the constellation of the Centaur, and Tau Ceti is
> >the 19th brightest star in the constellation of the Whale.
> >
> > >From the 25th brightest star on, numbers are used.  This system is fairly
> >simple and rational, since stars are naturally going to be discovered
> >in order from brightest to dimmest, as telescopes become more powerful.
> >
> >Stars which are, for any reason, of variable brightness don't fit neatly
> >into the rank order.  If the star already had an ordinary name before
> >its variability was noticed, it keeps it.  Otherwise, variable stars are
> >given Latin-letter names in order of discovery, followed again by the
> >name of the constellation, thus:  R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.  S Doradus,
> >for example, one of the most luminous (and bizarre) stars known, is the
> >second variable star discovered in the constellation of the Dolphin.
> >(The reason for beginning with R seems to be forgotten.)  All was well.
> >
> >But some constellations were found to contain more than nine variable
> >stars.
> >
> >No problem: astronomers went to two Latin letters for the 10th star
> >onwards, thus:  RR, RS, ... RZ, SR, SS, ..., SZ, TR, ... ZZ.  All was
> >well.
> >
> >But some constellations were found to contain more than 90 variable stars.
> >
> >No problem: astronomers wrapped around the Latin alphabet, thus:
> >AA, AB, ...  AZ, ..., BA, ... QZ, omitting the letter J (most of this
> >system was invented in Germany, which was still on Fraktur at the time).
> >All was well.
> >
> >But some constellations were found to contain more than 334 variable
> >stars.
> >
> >Two-letter sequences beginning with R-Z had already been been used at
> >an earlier stage, so RA, ... RQ, SA, ..., SQ, ... ZQ were rejected.
> >Instead the final stage of nomenclature became (at very long last)
> >V335, V336, ....  Which could and should have been done in the first
> >place instead of the fourth place.
> >
> >Caveat nomenclator.
> >
> >--
> >John Cowan                                <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
> >http://www.reutershealth.com              http://www.ccil.org/~cowan    (06)