Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Potential Collapse of Civilizaton Seen as a Result of Weak Type Checking

In a world filled with the threat of war, with midterm elections that once again demonstrate the self-destructive credulity of the American people, with the collapse of the American economy due to the greed and stupidity of the American elites, is now the proper time to talk about the looming crisis of weak type checking in our programming languages?

Yes, now is the time. The need has never been greater to stop this foolish slide into moral decay and socialized health care.

The promise of weakly typed or untyped languages such as Javascript is that you can quickly and flexibly create new data structures, complex data structures, and not get bogged down by being forced to go through your entire system and make everything work together in a very pedantic, and literal way.  You can throw together arrays and lists and pass them as parameters and feel a certain pleasant lack of mental overhead in doing so.  

This can be very productive but it can also generate a false sense of correctness when in fact one has introduced a subtle incompatibility which the system is blandly ignoring for a while, only to fail in a non-trivial way when you are least expecting it.

In fact, it is shocking how well a system like Javascript is willing to accommodate undefined variables, functions, incompatible types and just keep moving along as if nothing was wrong.

But having seduced the programmer into a false sense of security, it then waits for the program to reach a certain size, or grow to more than a single programmer, and suddenly the author or authors of a program have to start tracking down a bug that comes from one side not enforcing or maintaining a data structure in the way to which it was intended, or partially implemented, or perhaps implemented but then changed due to incomplete knowledge.

The larger the system, the more people who contribute to a system, and the longer the software is in use and being evolved, the more likely this is to happen. And when it happens, one is left without the tools to find the problem other than reading the code carefully and providing ones' own type checking.

How could this lead to the end of civilization?   It can do so in two different ways.  The first is that by permitting this mental weakness, this accommodation to those who would advocate weak type safety, we are letting those who are more lazy enter into a position of responsibility in society. This is certain to lead inevitably to sloppy programming resulting in falling buildings, collapsed bridges, exploding nuclear power plants and God only knows what else.

But second, this nation is under relentless attack by inscrutable oriental criminal elements that are sponsored by their evil, slave owning, government.   Can you imagine their glee whenever they penetrate another freedom-loving web page or program in America that has been left defenseless by a weakly type-checked programming language?

We must stand firm against these efforts to leave America defenseless against these threats and rebuild American strength through strongly typed languages.

Thank you.

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