DNA Workbench for X-windows

Keith Robison robison1 at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Nov 8 15:18:54 EST 1994

mathog at seqvax.caltech.edu (David Mathog) writes:

>Looking the gift horse straight in the mouth...

>Speaking as a harried system(s) manager, would all you developers please make
>a real effort to not develop on top of layer after layer of semiportable
>software?  I get really tired of having to install 2, 3, or 4 pieces of 
>software just to get the desired program running.  More often than not, 
>the requisite version of one of the support packages won't work on one
>platform or another (yes, especially VMS).  

>I suggest that grant reviewers going through applications that include
>software development, make sure that the project employs the rules that are
>put forth below.  It will save us all some money and insure that any tools
>developed are available to the largest number of users. 

>Portable software, which is relatively ulcer free in terms of installation
>and porting, adheres to the following guidelines:

Any standards run the risk of being straightjackets.  I also find installation
horribly hairy, but as a programmer I also don't like such restrictive 

> 1.  It is written in ANSI C or Fortran 77 (but NOT both).

As someone who is tad of a C++ partisan, I really dislike this one.  
Anything which can be expressed in C++ can be expressed in C
(which is what Cfront does), but good C++ is much more readable,
reusable, and maintainable.  On the other hand, there are an awful
lot of great things in PERL, and it is the use of PERL which makes
DNA Workbench so powerful (no size limits on sequences, full regular
expression searching, extensibility).

I realize this opens the barn door for LISP, SmallTalk, and other fiends,
but it is silly to force people to develop modern software with 70's
and older technology.  

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

krobison at nucleus.harvard.edu 

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