VSJ – June 2001 – Sounding Board

The IAP’s Vice-president, Steve Cumbers, is dying to tell you about the latest all-singing, all-dancing programming language.  He should have reported this in April, but he was too busy selling Tower Bridge to the Nutbush City Fathers.

We have just become the Value Abandoned Reseller for the new programming language C+-, which can only be used by programmers with at least three years C+- experience, thus ensuring an immediate skills shortage. A government minister has already booked her first-class ticket to a foreign country where sufficient guile is thought to exist to make up for this shortage before the general election. The new fast track visa scheme will be extended to include illegal immigrants who may have heard of C+- on their way through Europe to the UK.

C+- (pronounced ‘C More or Less’) is a subject-oriented language. Each C+- class instance, known as a subject, holds hidden members, known as prejudices, agendas or undeclared preferences, which are impervious to outside messages, as well as public members, known as boasts or claims. C+- is an innovation-neutral buzzword-compliant language developed by Nanosoft in a hurry for maximum user lock-in. It comes with its own methodology known as Subject-Oriented Development in Information Technology or SODIT for short.

C+- has pointer oppression and extensive coercions to help cure programmers of their unhealthy propensity for creative thinking. Multithreading is encouraged for maximum entanglement so that programs run slowly enough to facilitate debugging of the flawed design during project overruns. For obvious reasons, C+- will not work with any forking kernel, least of all Linux. C+- supports information hiding so successfully that data may never be found again. And it has automatic garbage collection twice a week, although garbage may be distributed if the Xmas bit is set to ungenerous mode.

The following C operators are overridden as shown:

>                     Better than

<                     Worse than

>>                  Way better than

<<                  Forget it

!                      Not on your life

*                     Any which way

~                     Sometimes

?:                    Rhetorical question

+=                  More equal than

==                  Comparable (ceteris paribus)

!== Get a life

->                   Blame allocator

sizeof            Doesn’t matter

C+- is strongly typed, based on stereotyping and self-righteous logic. The Boolean variables TRUE and FALSE (known as constants in other, less realistic languages) are supplemented with CREDIBLE and DUBIOUS. All Booleans can be declared with the modifiers strong and weak. Weak implication is said to “preserve deniability” and was added at US government insistence. What-if, why-not and so-what expressions are aided by the special conditional EVENIFNOT x THEN y.

The methodology promotes the Mongolian Hordes approach whereby many junior staff are thrown at a project until it achieves critical mass, a bit like the Manhattan project. New staff should ‘hit the ground running’ because moving targets are more difficult to hit. ‘Team-players’ are recommended because weak members will be carried by the others and, in any case, ‘original thinkers’ undermine the self-esteem of managers. It should be noted that all other methodologies are just as good — any ‘ology’ is guaranteed to make up for poor planning and lack of leadership. For more or less information see Cplusminus.com

Something you’d like to get off your chest? Email me (Robin Jones) at eo@iap.org.uk.

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