Re: Alloy paper



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Alan Cameron Wills (alan@trireme.com)
Mon, 31 Jul 2000 16:15:53 +0100


Politics is the art of the possible. "Frank V. Castellucci" wrote: > If the > authors feel that what they have is superior, and accomplishes what we > as a community REALLY require, then I say go get the ring. It will take > time, granted, but that shouldn't stop anyone with a good idea. I agree strongly with this. We must work on good ideas. To work on them properly, we need to invent new languages separate from UML. > Businesses used a plethora of other modeling languages prior to UML. If > not for a few snafus on someones part, we may all have been using OPEN. > UML was not brought to the mainstream attention because it was a > coherent model, not by any means. A few identified names and a heavy > marketing hand played a big part. I agree with this. You succinctly demonstrate that technical excellence is not what determines who is the 'winner' in a standards competition. Other well-known examples include Betamax/VHS; Mac/PC; myriads of better mousetraps. To summarise: * To invent good new ideas, work on new languages. Employ creative technical people to do it. * To get the ideas used, port them into the 'winner'. Employ crafty politicos to do it. > I don't understand the "give over to the current winner" mentality you > are prescribing, and must disagree with your avenue of approach. I feel desperately misunderstood; doubtless my fault. I don't at all say "give over to the current winner". I say "work with the current 'winner', bending it gradually until it encompasses all our good ideas, and leaves behind its old bad ones". By the time we're finished, it will be just like what we originally thought of, except it will be better. Yes, better. Because no matter what language any of us invents from scratch, it will always have shortcomings from the point of view of one user or another. Therefore any language is bound to be bad to begin with (from some points of view) and gradually improve with time, provided that all the other other folk work together around it. By contrast, if people just say "this is hopeless, I'm going to invent my own", then we'll never have any common languages. > Now with the open source/free software tools arriving for UML, many of > the project authors would really have no problem with adding a module to > work with other methodologies and notation. Yes, but then whenever anyone changes jobs, they're going to have to learn different methods and languages: most of which are pretty certain to be someone's own local invention and not very good. That's the situation we're in at the moment, and it's a waste of everyone's time and money. There are better things to spend our time on! In the end, it isn't a question of one language being the 'winner'. The best thing about UML is not that it has any technical merit, but that there is a large number of people willing to agree to work with and on it. Alan


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