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Oct 28

HTML is not statically typed. It scales ok?

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I played poker tonight with a bunch of techie-types in San Francisco. It was a fun crowd, and the game went well.

At one point the discussion got to languages, and the age old static versus dynamic language debate got going.

I heard all of the old gems:

I could never build anything large in a non-static language

This always makes me laugh, knowing that several HUGE systems have been built on dynamic languages.

It doesn’t make sense, as you can use discipline to build something large from anything. It is all about building modules and composing these modules. These modules may be packages, classes, etc… or they could be functions and non-OO.

A friend at the table then talked about how it is interesting that HTML is not statically typed, yet it has scaled pretty well. The internet architecture has made this happen. We are loosely coupled and modules (pages/site) are seperated out.

There are definitely pros and cons to the static vs. dynamic debate, but don’t go extreme to one side, and don’t be arragant enough to think that your way is right.

Always assume that some others are building better, larger, more scalable applications that you do… as it is probably and hopefully true :)

5 Responses to “HTML is not statically typed. It scales ok?”

  1. max Says:

    html is for presentation and possible errors can sometimes be saved by browsers (if its a typical error scenario) and or the tags can simply be ignored and the page will still make sense for the reader – there might be some shifted graphics or missing letters; but the overall message gets across.

    Imagine the same thing would happen for your code that has behavior (and not just presentation output) and tell me how you would feel if the vm/browser whatever starts skipping some of your instructions ….that would be pretty dangerous, right ? :)

  2. Matt Says:

    I’m not sure if I would consider HTML having to scale like a web server or app server would have to scale. Is this really scaling? How about huge HTML files with scads of data for drop downs or table data in one page. It just takes a long time to render. I wouldn’t call that scaling.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    This is not a valid reference… First, it’s another kind of scaling… Second, HTMl does not ‘talk’ to each other except linking… Third look at the great effort that it takes to (1) update links if pages are broken (2) build really good HTNL parsers dealing with all the PITA people can produce…

    I would say HTML is a great example of how 6bln people can change a failure into success when pouring enough effort into it… ;)

  4. Mike Spille Says:

    I’ve found that binary and Unicode also scale fantastically. :-)

  5. weight loss Says:

    you can always build something huge out of simple things. but… you make no sense. :|

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