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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Saturday June 12, 2004
07:17 PM

Absence of evidence

[ #19225 ]
Dear Log,

I very often am in a situation where I want a "feature" (for lack of a better word that'd apply to any artifact of design) that's not there, and am left to infer why it's not. It could be because of many things:

  • because the implementation is actually trickier than it seems (possibly because of some nasty hidden edge cases, which may or may not trouble the designers who want Everything To Be Perfect Everywhere)
  • because of some other obvious good reason that people decided not to implement it,
  • because of some other good reason that people decided not to implement it, but I can't think of what that reason would be
  • because of no good reason (of which there are many subtypes; see p5p)
  • because everyone else just never thought of it
  • because there is no "everyone else" and I'm the only one who's ever actually ever dealing with this particular system
  • or the tricky deadlock one: because everyone else considered all these possibilities and decided that since the feature isn't already there, it must be for some good reason that they just can't think of, whereas the feature is absent simply because everyone has been thinking it's absent for some non-apparent good reason.
  • or: the feature actually does exist, but you just can't find it.

In situations like these, it helps to ask around, if possible.

This weekend, however, I was wondering for the Nth time why there's XML files of all Mozilla/Firefox themes and extensions, but no RSSs of the new items in those files. I thought it was just that I couldn't find the RSSs. It turns out that it was because implementation was really hard. Most RSS feed generators take me only a minute or two to write, but this Mozilla stuff took me hours. It started out looking simple, but it was one complication after another.

Therefore in conclusion, delenda est Carthago.

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