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Re: HTML forms, XForms, Web Forms - which and how much?

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 21:48:49 +0100
Message-ID: <4637A7B1.3060304@cam.ac.uk>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>, Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org, public-html-request@w3.org

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> Theorem: Declarative representations reduce bugs
>> Proof: Spreadsheets. QED
> 
> Hmm. Is there any evidence that Excel spreadsheets have fewer bugs than, 
> say, Visual Basic programs of similar complexity? I know of no such 
> evidence. It is certainly possible for spreadsheet formulas to be buggy.

This is rather more the sort of research that I had in mind rather than 
the general statement that spreadsheets are easy to use. Spreadsheets 
are not really a great comparison to HTML since they combine a 
declarative language with a simple but powerful GUI paradigm to 
represent the data -- possibly it is this GUI that affords much of the 
ease of use. The declarative features are also sufficiently limited that 
many large spreadsheets contain significant amounts of imperative code, 
suggesting a tradeoff between ease of use for simple tasks and range of 
applicability. Other declarative languages such as XSLT may make 
different tradeoffs -- I have personally found that, in my limited 
experience with XSLT, the type of tree manipulations I wanted to perform 
were harder (for me) than just writing a script.

Given this, I hope its clear why I was asking about research into the 
general properties of declarative languages to help me understand the 
claims that are being made that declarative languages are a-priori 
easier for authors.

-- 
"Instructions to follow very carefully.
Go to Tesco's.  Go to the coffee aisle.  Look at the instant coffee. 
Notice that Kenco now comes in refil packs.  Admire the tray on the 
shelf.  It's exquiste corrugated boxiness. The way how it didn't get 
crushed on its long journey from the factory. Now pick up a refil bag. 
Admire the antioxidant claim.  Gaze in awe at the environmental claims 
written on the back of the refil bag.  Start stroking it gently, its my 
packaging precious, all mine....  Be thankful that Amy has only given 
you the highlights of the reasons why that bag is so brilliant."
-- ajs
Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 20:50:26 GMT

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