many small or 1 big?
rcozens at pon.net
Mon Sep 9 11:06:20 CDT 2002
>This is OT from your request, but I think worth a philosophical comment.
>"The savings in HD space for the 1 BIG method is laughable these
>days (I just bought an 80 GB HD for $150) and the savings in RAM is
>rapidly becoming laughable."
>I believe that this kind of thinking can too easily lead one
>unwittingly down the path of poor programming. It becomes easy to do
>inefficient "quick-and-dirty" that works for a small program because
>the inefficiencies are "covered" by all the available RAM and disk
There was a time when RAM was expensive ($10,000 per megabyte for
magnetic RAM in 1974) and typical computer configurations had 512K
(yes, "K") RAM and 100 MB of disk storage or less. In those days,
programmers who could make the most efficient use of RAM & disk space
In today's world, it is the programmer who writes source code that is
easy to understand and modify that rules; because all those neat,
esoteric code segments to minimize RAM & disk requirements tend to
make the program source less straightforward, and today's clock
speeds make runtime efficiency a moot issue in most user-interactive
applications. Gains in hardware efficiency are often lost many times
over because of the added inefficiency in software maintenance.
Also, in my experience there is usually a trade-off between
programming for hardware efficiency and programming for performance.
For example, a database application could compress each record before
filing it to minimize file size; but the trade-off is the overhead of
compressing the record on writes & decompressing it on reads. In
this case, not compressing records to minimize disk storage
requirements does not mean the application is "quick-and-dirty" and
poorly programmed, but rather that the application is maximized for
performance at the expense of larger file sizes.
Whether it is the legacy of the past or our professional appreciation
of an elegant algorithm, we tend to spend more time trying to make
code "efficient" than we do trying to make it understandable.
IMF[oole's]O, there are few circumstances where a programmer needs to
put more focus on efficient use of the hardware than on maximizing
performance and maintainability.
CCW, Serendipity Software Company
"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."
from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)
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