Older blog entries for gmc333 (starting at number 0)

20 Dec 2000 (updated 17 Jul 2001 at 21:21 UTC) »

Jumped to Advogato when I saw a post at ELJ Daily about software bloat. The author claimed that software is getting slower faster than hardware gets faster.

Had to laugh at that one. When I started in this business, the assembler was so slow (as it ran off floppies) that I had plenty of time to learn how to juggle while waiting for my program to be built. Now I compile much larger applications much faster. Much less juggling. Only in the short-term, when you don't upgrade your hardware as often as your software does bloat really degrade things.

Anyone who's really interested in development tools that are the antithesis of bloat should check out the SmallEiffel compiler. The distribution fits on a single floppy(!), includes a bootstrap to install the compiler+utilities, all the source, a standard library and example programs. And with the -0.75 release, it now includes an interactive debugger. It's not a toy compiler, it's being used for some major projects and is a pretty-much complete implementation of Eiffel. You could argue that it cheats by using a C compiler for a backend. To which I would reply "it also compiles to Java Byte Codes. So there."

The compiler is an incredibly aggressive optimizer, eliminating dead code and method dispatching at every opportunity. In many benchmarks, it holds its own to C++ in performance.

Eiffel itself is designed with reusability in mind. In many respects it's a much cleaner language than C++ (which admittedly is a pretty low bar to clear).

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