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Re: [Axiom-developer] Unit package question

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Unit package question
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 10:25:20 -0700 (PDT)

--- root <address@hidden> wrote:

> CY
> It's good to see someone taking the time and energy to document the
> background and primary information about the how and why of category
> and domain instruction. 

Heh - I'm not actually there yet - I'm currently trying to properly
define things like the meaning of Units and Dimensions (Dimension turns
out to be very tricky to define!) and the thinking behind overall
design concerns. William is way ahead of me right now - I'm not close
yet to translating what I'm learning into Axiom code as such.

> My hope is that this will be the way Axiom
> is developed in the future. The code can always be improved but the
> design decisions are vital. I'm trying to document existing code and
> the questions ALWAYS arise: "WHY is this code here?", "WHAT were they
> trying to do?", "WHERE is this code used?", etc. The questions arise
> even in code *I* wrote years ago.

Agreed.  After my experience playing with Maxima I'll never ask again
why documenting things is important.

> Coding is the easy part once you understand the issues. It is the
> understanding that takes a long time. I believe that writing down
> what you come to understand is what will make Axiom into a living
> system (in the Christopher Alexander sense). Write for the next
> generation who will have to maintain it and change it.

What I'm not sure about is whether or not having things like the
physical basis for SI units documented in the pamphlet is a good thing.
 My thinking on this is yes because a) I like having all possibly
relevant info in one place and b) it's fundamental to the meaning of
units and therefore seems like appropriate knowledge to have in the
Axiom pamphlet file, but it may wind up being enough to make people
roll their eyes at me ;-).  Plus, sometimes a document that is readily
available at one point in time gets harder to find later, or may be
hard to access for someone in another country with limited internet
access, or who knows.  So I tend to favor the idea of a pamphlet file
which is as internally consistent and complete as possible, even at the
risk of verbosity.  But that's just me ;-)  Once I've actually got
something I'll post it and take my lumps.


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