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[Axiom-developer] Axiom documentation and Ted Nelson

From: daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Axiom documentation and Ted Nelson
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 16:04:53 -0500 (EST)

I have long ranted about the whole idea of what I call the "piles of
sand" approach to software. Each file is a single grain of sand,
constrained to the 4K buffer limit on the PDP-11 8K machine in the
1970s. Choosing good filenames was important. Hierarchy was born and
made choosing good directory names (src, doc, bin, etc)
important. Then the tools hardened the whole sand pile into castles
(e.g. automake) with web pages or wiki pages adding eye candy.

These early constraints led to decisions. These decisions still limit
the way we think about software. In particular, they limit the way we
think about communicating ideas with and about software (e.g. comment
lines). We can do better. We must do better if large software projects
like Axiom are to survive.

It appears that Ted Nelson seems to have a similar opinion. 
(In the spirit of "gee, somebody famous agrees" here's the link :-) )

Ted Nelson on Pernicious Computer Traditions

Axiom's approach to Nelson's "addressable content" uses chunks and
chunk names.  Additionally, the table of contents, index, and internal
hyperlinks allow random access to the ideas and source code. The ideas
are not new (ref: Knuth) or uncommon (ref: Pharr and Humphrey's book).


"You can't think outside the box if you can't perceive the box"

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