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17. Eiffel > Managing Growth and Evolution

Managing Growth and Evolution

You said that you designed Eiffel in about an afternoon, but it took about 20 years to implement that vision.

Bertrand: The key ideas really are very simple and all the rest is commentary, as they say. To a certain extent, that’s what we did. We have expanded on the basic concept for the past 20 years.

You take classes, you take inheritance, especially multiple inheritance. You take genericity, you take contracts, and then a number of language principles, like for example, something that is very important in Eiffel, which is that you need to provide one good way to do anything. Also the idea of high signal-to-noise ratio: that the language should not pursue small size as such, but should select features on the basis of how much power each feature adds and how little complication it brings. You take a couple dozen ideas like this, some of them language ideas, other meta-ideas about language design, and basically that’s it. But to turn this into something that is useful to write applications that simulate the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, or manage billions of dollars, you need the engineering part, w....


  

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