Excerpts from midrange-l: 23-Mar-99 RE: Re[2]: IBM pushing Java Colin
Williams@technocra (4689*) 

> If you are spending time rewriting old code that does the job, that is
> time that is going to be better spent writing new enhancements to the
> application, that will bring in new money 

IMHO, adding "new enhancements" to "old code that does the job" can be
fraught with peril. 

Consider the amazing Turbo Pascal 3.x, ca. 1986, as an example: a
complete Edit-Compile-Debug environment, written mostly in ASM, which
only occupied 37K of then-precious PC RAM.  I'm still astounded at the
functionality it provided in such a tiny footprint.   

Suppose we wanted to add some sort of "undo-step" support to the TP3
debugger.  Now, back in my college days, we were taught that
assembler-language code is *the* most expensive, line for line, to write
and maintain.  Suppose our incremental improvement took one year to code
up, test and release.  Well and good -- our new enhancement is in place. 

Now suppose that, instead of enhancing the ASM code, we started from
scratch and rewrote the tool in some high-level language.  And, because
of the relative ease of coding in a HLL vs. ASM, we got our new
deliverable (a character-based IDE complete with modular compilation,
overlays, libraries, etc.) done in roughly the same amount of time. 
(OK, this is fictitious, but not wholly so... :)  Of course, in the
second task our run-time memory footprint grew significantly, but new
machines were coming out with a whopping *256K* of RAM standard, so that
the motivation for minimizing footprint was reduced. 

Which project was the best expenditure of resource, and will pay back
the most? 

Now, this is a purely fictitious example, and rewriting from scratch can
be an AWFUL idea, but I just hoped to provide a point of discussion
somewhere in this spectrum... 


  ___   _           Blair Wyman                  IBM Rochester 
 ( /_)  /  _  ' _   (507)253-2891           wyman@vnet.ibm.com 
__/__)_/_<_/_/_/_'  Opinions expressed may not be those of IBM. 

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