C++/C is a mess, but there is nothing better around for programming in biotech. (was: what o/s is best for a programmer specializing in biotech?

Georg Fuellen fuellen at athena.mit.edu
Tue Jan 4 15:09:13 EST 1994

In article <2gcbc8INNa8g at uwm.edu>, glenne at csd4.csd.uwm.edu (Neuromancer ) writes:
 [to sci.bio.technology, to which followups are directed]
|> The responses I got in this newsgroup helped me decide that I want to 
|> be a programmer that specializes in biotechnology.  At this point I am
|> deciding on which programming language and operating system to focus on.
|> My guess is that it would be best for me to specialize in C++ under unix [...]

Right now, C++/C may be good for getting a job, but the language can be 
a real mess. I used C++ as a computer scientist at a molecular
biology group, but if you want to start a project from scratch using C++ and
you want to avoid all the possible design errors C++ allows you to do,
maybe use some tools or class libraries as well, obey some coding standard, etc,
then you'll spend quite a bit of time without being productive. Good C++ programming
costs a lot of time in the beginning; if you prepare for future reuse in a 
serious way, most benefits are down the road. You'll miss them almost certainly
if you rush into coding.
Anyway, my boss ran out of patience, and I more or less had to stop using C++.
Luckily, the next project made much more short-term progress, so I could keep my job
until he left academia.

** I am still looking for a better programming language, without success, 
and my conclusion is: C++/C is really bad, but there is nothing better around.

On a final note, you should be flexible regarding the platform/operating system:
at least UNIX, Mac, PC. This is no big deal compared to the intrinsic
problems of C++. gcc/g++ for example runs under lots of operating systems.

fuellen at mit.edu
The convex hull of all disclaimers made on usenet last year applies to this mess

More information about the Bio-soft mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net