The reality of Stefan Scholl

"I hope there's pudding"

The Task at Hand

One reddit user really had some problems with my last blog entry Don't say "no"!

In the comments on reddit he was obsessed with the four little words "the task at hand". I was giving a bad advice by letting a programmer choose his own tools to do his work.

As if a programmer can't think for himself. When you don't have any additional budget at all and you think Delphi would fit the current problem, then you are out of luck. You have to pay for Delphi. Same goes for some other tools. So you have to find another way to solve your problems.

There's a strictly Java only policy at the shop you are working? Don't waste your time thinking about how cool it could be to quickly code something in Ruby.

But when the only reason holding you back using Common Lisp is the doubt if other programmers could pick up when you leave, or support you in maintaining the code …

Brian Mastenbrook wrote it in "Can someone else work on your code?":

I work with a large Common Lisp codebase at work, and I'm often surprised at how easy it is to maintain and make changes to even the "bad" parts of the code.

And I would go further: It's not only easy to maintain the code, it is also easy to learn by reading and modifying given code.

Set up a working environment and maybe point to Lispbox if they want to try it at home, too. Give them a copy of Practical Common Lisp and a week time and the co-worker or successor will get around the first shock and accept Common Lisp. Don't expect them to love it — so you don't get disappointed for them not getting as excited as you are for the language.

The task at hand? When to choose Common Lisp?

I'm not telling. It's your job. You know the facts and all (or most of) the variables to consider. Not me. Trying to force Common Lisp on you as the perfect tool for every problem doesn't help anybody. Even if it is the perfect tool.

Tags: Lisp