• Subject: RE: IBM pushing Java (array bounds checking as a moral issue)
  • From: "Simon Coulter" <shc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 30 Mar 99 10:29:11 +1000


Hello Joel,

Ooh! What do I do if I advocate compliance with the standards but the standards 
suck?  Between 
a rock and a hard place!  Or the Devil and the deep blue sea!

I don't have any argument with the emergency fix per se, just the fact that it 
was necessary in 
the first place.  Your wish to go back to sleep (and the title change to 
include moral issues) 
reminded me of a story from my misspent youth (in Bible class actually before I 
replaced blind 
faith with opaque logic):

WARNING, WARNING, HOMILE APPROACHING ....

"The Boy Who Could Sleep Through Thunderstorms"

A farmer was looking for some casual help and went into town where a group of 
teenagers was 
lounging against a fence.  He asked them if any of them wanted to earn some 
money.  Of course 
they said yes (what teenager isn't in need of some cash?).  He then asked them 
if they'd done 
any farm work and what did they think was their major asset.  Most of the boys 
had little 
experience and certainly couldn't answere the last question.  But one boy just 
said "I can 
sleep through thuderstorms".  The farmer thought that was a bit weird but none 
of the other 
boys seemed interested in actually working for the money so he took the boy 
back to the farm.

The boy seemed quite suited to farm work and the farmer had no complaints until 
one night a 
huge storm blew up.  The farmer woke up and went to rouse the boy to check the 
animals, and the 
barn, and the haystacks, etc, but the boy was fast asleep.  They farmer shook 
him and shouted 
at him but nothing would wake the boy.  In disgust the farmer swore he would 
sack him and went 
out into the storm by himself.

When he reached the barn he found all the doors tightly shut.  All the animals 
were safe 
inside.  The haystacks were covered with tarpaulins and tied down.  Everthing 
was in its place 
(ship-shape and Bristol fashion for our colleagues in Blighty).

The farmer walked back to the house and remembered what the boy had said.  "I 
can sleep through 
thunderstorms".

And the moral is ......?

Regards,
Simon Coulter.


 FlyByNight Software         AS/400 Technical Specialists       
 Eclipse the competition - run your business on an IBM AS/400.  
                                                                
 Phone: +61 3 9419 0175      Mobile: +61 0411 091 400           
 Fax:   +61 3 9419 0175      mailto: shc@flybynight.com.au      
                                                                
 Windoze should not be open at Warp speed.                      

//--- forwarded letter -------------------------------------------------------
> X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.0.1460.8)
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Date: Mon, 29 Mar 99 09:35:15 -0800
> From: "Joel Fritz" <JFritz@sharperimage.com>
> To: "'MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com'" <MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com>
> Reply-To: MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
> Subject: RE: IBM pushing Java (array bounds checking as a moral issue)

> 
> But what if shop standards are foursquare against writing programs
> properly.<g>
> 
> Seriously, at 2AM it's hard to worry whether someone who worked where you do
> five years ago should have done bounds checking on an array.  You generally
> want to do the simplest thing possible to make the broken production job run
> properly and then try to fix it right the next day.  There are lots of ways
> to handle array overflow when you're designing a program; it's just nice to
> have something you can do in 10 minutes in a emergency and go back to sleep.
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon Coulter [mailto:shc@flybynight.com.au]
> Sent: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:45 PM
> To: MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
> Subject: RE: IBM pushing Java
> 
> 
> 
> Hello Joel,
> 
> Gosh, I've been busy on this topic!
> 
> You wrote:
> >programs on an as needed basis.  It's really fun to handle an array
> overflow
> >suppor
call at 2 AM by converting the program to RPGIV and expanding the
> >array, cancelling the OPM version and then giving a retry to the CL message
> >that follows. 
> 
> Of course if the program had been written properly it would be doing bounds
> checking on the array index and 
> would have sent a message weeks ago informing you of the approaching end of
> the array (assuming the element 
> usage has ben gradually increasing -- I just love those 9999 element arrays
> -- we'll never fill that up!).
> 
> Even if this was just one of those things and the array simply isn't large
> enough ('cause too many of whatever 
> is stored were added today) it should be possible to handle the situation.
> For instance, log the failed data 
> to a file, send someone a message, and process the log file later --
> standard transaction update problem 
> handling.  Please note that this is meant for the general case.  One can
> always think up specific scenarios 
> where programmatically handling the error is not worth the effort.
> 
> A perfect case for dynamically allocating storage and using that for the
> array.
> 
> And that CL message indicates no (or very little) exception handling is
> being performed and you really don't 
> want to know my opinion on that!! - even though the Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Impala
> message is useful to restart the 
> program.
> 
> I can see this append starting a whole war of words ...
> 
> Regards,
> Simon Coulter.
> 
> 
>  FlyByNight Software         AS/400 Technical Specialists       
>  Eclipse the competition - run your business on an IBM AS/400.  
>                                                                 
>  Phone: +61 3 9419 0175      Mobile: +61 0411 091 400           
>  Fax:   +61 3 9419 0175      mailto: shc@flybynight.com.au      
>                                                                 
>  Windoze should not be open at Warp speed.                      
> 
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