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Re: [NTB] Editing pages created in MS Frontpage

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  • David Smart
    Bit of both, probably. A compiler (even a low-level one like C) will generate object code that is far larger than would be written by a skilled assembler
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 22, 2004
      Bit of both, probably.

      A compiler (even a low-level one like C) will generate object code that is far larger than would be written by a skilled assembler programmer. Higher-level compilers (like C++, VB, etc) exacerbate this - produce voluminous object code and also having large run-time libraries. This can certainly account for object code being 10 times larger than it needs to be.

      Of interest, is the code being written by Steve Gibson (http://www.grc.com) - all in assembler and offering a lot of functionality in tiny object code. Steve's most famous product is SpinRite, whose installed directory zips down to 106kb on my machine (that's kb, not Mb!!).

      But it's not 10x, it's far worse than that!

      Next offender is software bloat. Huge help files, where a printed manual was provided instead previously, inter-program operability (e.g. MS Word and MS Excel), multi-multi-functions in a product (e.g. MS Word no longer just a word processor, but a desk-top-publisher as well, and a FAX, and ...).

      Also, you can blame the CD. Who wants to release a product using only 10Mb on a CD? Certainly not M$. They went from 15Mb in multiple floppies (and feeling guilty about having so many) to 600+ Mb CDs (and feeling guilty about not using all 600Mb) in a single bound.

      Bad coding? Certainly in there somewhere, I'm sure. Probably not caused so much by inexpert programmers - rather by the rush to add great globs of functionality to take advantage of the ever-increasing capacity of home computers. I still remember when we (at work - couldn't afford it at home) got our first PC hard disk. "How are we going to ever fill up 5Mb?"

      Gates is correct in saying that there is inadequate software out there. He should know, his company is responsible for a large proportion of it. He's probably incorrect in saying that it's because of inexpert programmers or even a lowering of educational standards. There is a push to get the software out the door as quickly as possible, with the maximum features possible, and with the knowledge that one can always release service packs later. (My son was complaining the other day that the Service Pack he'd just downloaded for XP would not fit on his 256Mb memory stick. A service pack larger than 256Mb?) But the consumers are equally to blame IMHO. For some reason, they'll accept software of a much lower reliability than probably anything else they buy (including the hardware the software runs on). Why? The software companies are being allowed to get away with something that no other company could get away with.

      Dave S

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: rbmooney
      To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 9:41 AM
      Subject: Re: [NTB] Editing pages created in MS Frontpage

      I thought that the programs were all slower and full of glitches these days (thus making them memory hogs) because the coding was jumbled, confused, incorrectly entered, in short, often quite a mess--that the brainpower simply wasn't in that field any more. I remember a statement that Gates made that obliquely indicated this as the source of coding problems and therefore the source of the growing size of all programs. I mean it does seem logical when one considers that Charlemagne sent his top subordinates to Ireland to retrieve several monks who were the last people on the Earth that knew intimately the old Latin. Since his French language had deteriorated so quickly and immigration brought many strange foreign languages that were assimilated into the old French that language standards would decline drastically. Since a top engineering degree today is not the same as it was (math-wise) 50 years ago and new engineering students seeking employment at very competitive and brain-draining high-paying good-engineering jobs leave a lot to be desired, can't the standards then be "relaxed" and the coding left to its own devices, to survive the quicksand or be swallowed up in the mess. If this is possible, wouldn't it be true that as standards decline people must have been less schooled? If I was properly trained, as many of the Bangalore "kids" are these days, I can see why the hardware guys the world over would hate me and love the inept newly graduated computer engineer from the US. This built-in failure to graduate properly educated students in the math sciences in the US is quickly impacting on several other important disciplines besides engineering: some young people leaving high school and several colleges can not read, write, or speak the "King's English" let alone perform brilliantly as coders. A quick aside: certain writers in Europe actually believe that with the decline in math skills and appreciation of it as the most elegant " ;language" that Americans have all ready begun to lose the ability to "think." But you seem to be saying that it's the weaker and expanded compilers of code--the actual programs--that are at fault. Am I wrong? I am not a computer expert in the least and know some math...just enough to get me in trouble. Thanks for any response you care to make.
      RB Mooney

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Smart
      To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 5:41 PM
      Subject: Re: [NTB] Editing pages created in MS Frontpage

      Most of what you're saying is perfectly correct, but tends to miss the point a bit IMHO. The same argument could easily be used towards writing all software in assembler.

      But it ain't done, because it's slower. Only software considered time critical is coded in assembler. Only web pages considered download-time-critical can justify being hand coded. (I must admit I tend to hand-code - using a combination of NoteTab and Arachnophilia, but I certainly can't claim that it's cost-justified.)

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