Saturday, May 06, 2006


Eiffel Blog Post (EBP)

There is a tendency to name Eiffel libraries with the word "Eiffel" in the name. For example there is EiffelNet, EiffelMath, and EiffelStore, all developed by ISE. There is e-Posix by Berend de Boer and ECLI by Paul Crismer. And there is EiffelMedia by Till Bay and the ETH team. And the list certainly doesn't stop there.

While these names couldn't be more technically accurate, they do not give justice to the effort put into making these libraries as great as they are. As the first point of advertisement, they fail to entice the non-Eiffel developer. For most of the programming community, 'It's developed in Eiffel' is perceived as a liability. We know it is an advantage, but they don't. I'm not suggesting you, the Eiffel library developer should lie, but rather stop parading a banner around that says, "This was developed in Eiffel!". Make it a footnote on a webpage.

There have been 242 downloads of my secom library since the first beta release at the end of March. In comparison there have been 343 downloads of Gobo 3.4 since its release July 10th, 2005. These are the sourceforge numbers so Gobo has probably been downloaded at least as many times from Eric's webpage. Can it be that there are more Eiffel developers interested in secom than in Gobo? I doubt it. The answer to the discrepancy is that secom is attracting non-Eiffel developers. Notice the description of secom:
Secom is an object-oriented library of portable, reusable components for communicating over serial devices. With secom you can develop an application that will compile and execute on Posix and Windows, with little to no changes to the source code.
It's intended to entice any developer wanting a library for serial communication, not just Eiffel developers. But I'm not dishonest; if you scroll down the page just a little you'll notice the programming languages are C and Eiffel.

I'd like to think that there is at least one person that downloaded secom expecting a library of C++ or Java classes and, upon noticing their assumption was wrong, decided to try it out, or at least browse through the source, or at the very least know that Eiffel is providing what they need, even if they choose not to use it.

Let's open our arms to the non-Eiffel community. We know what's best for them after all, and don't want to make the same mistakes as the Java community (replacing 'J' with 'E'). Someday soon when Eiffel is the common choice, the word Eiffel in a title will be as redundant as naming documents "Document", or naming blog posts "Blog Post".

Good idea, Brian. As an added advantage, the "E" section of the Eiffelzone Packages by Name page won't be so crowded!
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