[Oberon] Redundancy in specification; was Re (2): Why macros were not implemented in oberon language?

peter at easthope.ca peter at easthope.ca
Mon Jul 7 15:16:10 CEST 2014

From:	Alexander Iljin <ajsoft at yandex.ru>
Date:	Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:08:02 +0400
> ... you really don't want to inline a procedure that 
>   you've imported from another module. Because if that other module happens 
>   to change the procedure afterwards, you'll have the old copy in your code.

Striking how some principles of engineering practice can apply in software 
engineering just as well as in civil or mechanical work. 

In civil and mechanical design a not uncommon error of an inexperienced 
person is to deliberately give redundant information in a drawing or 
specification, with the intention of being helpful to staff doing fabrication 
or construction.  For a trivial illustration, suppose a steel link is 1 m long 
and a hole is to be drilled 20 cm from one end.  A junior person in a design 
office might put three dimensions on the drawing, 100 cm overall length, 
20 cm from one end and 80 cm from the other end.  Analogously to 
Alexander's example, a revision might change the 20 cm to 30 and 
overlook the 80 cm dimension.  Hopefully the error is only costly 
in time and money.  Unfortunately in some cases, a catastrphophic 
failure can ensue.  

The hazard of redundancy was never mentioned in engineering school 
that I recall but the old hands in a first engineering job were sharply 
aware of it.

Regards,                ... Peter E.

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