long names in 'C' programs

Bill Crews bc at cyb-eng.UUCP
Fri May 31 13:14:35 AEST 1985

>It's simply an issue of compatibility.  Unless you want to make your users
>suffer unnecessarily, you should introduce new changes gradually, and wait
>for the old ones to die out gracefully, rather than forcing new features
>on the user.

This feud has no possibility of being won, so long as the feuders continue to
ignore the fact that contexts exist within which software development is
performed.  In some cases, programs are written intentionally to be quick and
dirty (and, hopefully, throw-away).  Local idioms would be called for if the
development process is accelerated or made more reliable.  Others publish
software with which source code is distributed.  Understandability would seem
to be the key here.  Still others develop source code which will likely be
hacked into various forms and run on many different systems during its life.
Perhaps in this case some understandability should be sacrificed for greater

By defining the realm of his concern to be COMPATIBILITY, the author has set
his context, and the conclusions are obvious.  But surely he doesn't believe
that portability is the only consideration in the development of programs!

I fall in the category of "long namers" because the bulk of the work I do
involves large systems in which parts are written by various programmers
who would have a difficult time repeatedly having to figure out what is meant
by such variable names as bufav or even pktwait, when buffer_available and
packet_waiting tell one just what is the meaning of the variable.  On such
projects, I must often reread and remember what *I* wrote several months

But if I were writing code that only I read or maintained, which took only
a few days to write, and which did not relate to external modules much, I
would probably adopt a different style.

Please try not to judge everyone else by your own circumstances and even


  /  \    Bill Crews
 ( bc )   Cyb Systems, Inc
  \__/    Austin, Texas

[ gatech | ihnp4 | nbires | seismo | ucb-vax ] ! ut-sally ! cyb-eng ! bc

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