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boogyman19946

Costs of (Re)Designing a Programming Language

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boogyman19946    1487

Hey guys, I have a question that I can't seem to find a resolution to, and I'm not sure where to ask for help.

 

I'm trying to find out what would be the involved cost of changing a part of a programming language's standard. Say for example, if I were Oracle and wanted to change the interface of a class in the Java Programming Language, how much money would I spend to get that accomplished?

 

I tried searching on Google, but I can't find anything on the topic. I figure it might be some kind of a specialty topic that I'm better off asking about. Would anyone know where I can find such information?

 

Thanks in advance!

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wack    1358

Existing interfaces are difficult to change, because it would make people modify code that they already consider "done". They hate that. Usually it's easier to suggest a new interface instead. Incidentally, this is why stuff becomes bloated over time.

 

I have no idea how this would be done for Java, but for C++ I believe you can just submit a paper describing what you want to change, and the ISO standards committee will take it under consideration.

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King Mir    2490

For proprietary languages like Java, Oracle could easily release a document that outlines the change, plus update their own libraries with the change. Not counting the development involved in deciding what changes to make, it's petty cheep.

 

C and C++ are international treaties. To change those you need consensus in their respective ISO committees. As I understand it, there's a small fee for Oracle to send a voting member to ISO, but there are no other costs. The tricky part is convincing everyone else on the committee that it's a good idea.

 

And some languages don't have an owner or a treaty. Oracle could release a compiler/interpreter that uses an expanded form of these, but it would have no way to force that expansion on other vendors. It could try to get ANSI or other national bodies to publish a standard, and there are fees to do that.

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boogyman19946    1487

That's what I imagined would be the case. I'm actually looking for this information for a report for a class. Basically, I'm writing a report from the point of view of an organization having accomplished a proposed project and I'd like to outline some of the costs. I imagine that if I can't find the exact number, I'll be allowed to just eyeball it because after all the assignment is more focused on actual structure of the report rather than absolute correctness of the data (but the numbers ought not to be that far off biggrin.png).

The exact change being made is simply adding some functions to an interface so that the old interface doesn't actually change, but new functions are added to make the new interface consistent with the existing ones.

I had a feeling that a small change like that wouldn't really cost all that much and I wasn't sure how much information I would have been able to find on the exact cost precisely because Oracle is the owner of the language and they have complete control over it. I'll probably end up digging around their site later to see if I can come up with anything.

Edited by boogyman19946

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Norman Barrows    7179


I had a feeling that a small change like that wouldn't really cost all that much

 

 

as a basic formula, you might try:

 

 

cost = estimated man hours * coder's estimated wage rate + estimated publishing overhead

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Stainless    1875

The problem you are describing doesn't sound like you need to change the programming language at all.

 

Say you have an API called Fred and you want to extend it. Rather than changing Fred, you can create a new API called Bert which extends Fred, add the new stuff to Bert, and just use Bert.

 

You might need to do a bit of juggling to get existing code to use Bert instead of Fred, so you would need to allow for the man hours to do that, but it's going to be a simpler task than changing an existing language.

 

Then apply the formula above to get an estimated cost.

 

Or you can do what most professional marketers do. Think of a number, double it, add your phone number and print it on a rate card. smile.png

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