Language designer's notebook, First, do no harm

Sometimes, the bad code enabled by a new language feature outweighs the good

From the developerWorks archives

Brian Goetz

Date archived: December 19, 2016 | First published: July 19, 2011

While some proposed language features are simply a solution in search of a problem, most have their roots in real-world situations in which the existing features do not enable programmers to express what they want to say as easily, clearly, succinctly, or safely as they'd like. Although having a use case in mind — "this feature enables me to write this code that I want to be able to write" — is good, language designers also need to evaluate language features in light of the bad code they might also enable.

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