[seqfan] Re: Program syntax and the OEIS

Marc LeBrun mlb at well.com
Fri Jun 24 18:10:31 CEST 2011


>="Alonso Del Arte" <alonso.delarte at gmail.com>
> a comment like (* Version 6.0+ *) might be sufficient

Documentation seems the only really viable approach. The OEIS can't be in
the code-snippet maintenance business.

Automatic machine translation of programs is an interesting research topic,
but relying on it is dicey in the forward direction.  How can you be *sure*
that all important semantics are correctly preserved?

In the backwards-compatibility direction, sometimes users like to stick to
their earlier versions for good reasons--they don't want to pay upgrade
costs, they have other irresolvable functionality issues, and so on.

It's kind of like respecting folks who want to stick with ASCII-only eMail.

Recoding already-submitted programs for a different version isn't quite the
same thing as a "correction" (as an actual bugfix would be), and may merely
shift the burden from one user community to another.

Instead, the instructions for submitting code should at least strongly
encourage adding a comment giving version info, as a "best practice".

Perhaps this could even be supported somehow as an extension when entering
the "name" of the CAS, language or other framework?

It's essentially the same as what the "++" in the name "C++" conveys.  It's
just that some of these systems change more frequently, and choose different
syntax (there's now also "C++0x").  It sounds to me like Maple5 and Maple6
are closely related but different languages (as are C and C++).

Instead of recoding the Maple5, why not leave the earlier version in place,
but supplement it with a new Maple6 version, just as we would add a version
for C++ or any other additional language? 





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