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Re: Do we prefer software that works or software that looks good?

From: Shachar Shemesh <psql(at)shemesh(dot)biz>
To: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
Cc: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Do we prefer software that works or software that looks good?
Date: 2004-04-24 12:09:51
Message-ID: 408A590F.7070900@shemesh.biz (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackerspgsql-www
Robert Treat wrote:

>On Saturday 24 April 2004 01:23, Shachar Shemesh wrote:
>  
>
>>Tom Lane wrote:
>>    
>>
>>>PS: I resisted the temptation to SET THIS MESSAGE IN ALL UPPER CASE
>>>to make the point about readability.  But if you want to argue the
>>>point with me, I'll be happy to do that for the rest of the thread.
>>>      
>>>
>>Yes, it's a well known rhetoric technique. Take whatever argument your
>>opponent say, and exagerate it to an absurd.
>>
>>    
>>
>
>Kind of like changing the subject line of a thread to imply your side of the 
>argument is the one that has technical merit and the other side is being 
>petty and/or frivolous?
>
It is my understanding that the discussion with Tom was 100% about the 
question in the subject line. There is no question that the SQL standard 
dictates that unquoted identifiers should be folded to uppercase. There 
is no question (not from me) that upper case is ugly. The only question 
is whether we should prefer standard to asthetic.

>   Anyone who has studied software useability will 
>know that uppercase should, in general, be avoided as it hurts readability. 
>  
>
You convinced me! let's change the SQL standard.

>It isn't about "looking pretty", it's about being more usable.  
>
>Robert Treat
>  
>
Ok. I'm willing to change the subject to "are hurting eyes due to 
uppercase preferable to changing lots of code when migrating to PG from 
other database due to standard incomplience", if it would make you feel 
better.

The point is that I am not against lower case, or pro uppercase. I HATE 
uppercase. I do think, however, that standards should be followed. The 
question is, when all is said and done, which is more useable. A DB that 
presents unquoted identifiers as uppercase, or one that allows easier 
migration of client apps from other DBs.

I'll also mention that if asthetic/readability is all that bothers you, 
we can add a flag to psql that displays all caps as lowercase.

          Shachar

-- 
Shachar Shemesh
Lingnu Open Source Consulting
http://www.lingnu.com/


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