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C++/C is a mess, but there is nothing better around for programming in biotech. (was: what o/s is best for a programmer specializing in biotech?

Georg Fuellen fuellen at athena.mit.edu
Tue Jan 4 15:09:13 EST 1994

In article <2gcbc8INNa8g at uwm.edu>, glenne at csd4.csd.uwm.edu (Neuromancer ) writes:
 [to sci.bio.technology, to which followups are directed]
|> The responses I got in this newsgroup helped me decide that I want to 
|> be a programmer that specializes in biotechnology.  At this point I am
|> deciding on which programming language and operating system to focus on.
|> My guess is that it would be best for me to specialize in C++ under unix [...]

Right now, C++/C may be good for getting a job, but the language can be 
a real mess. I used C++ as a computer scientist at a molecular
biology group, but if you want to start a project from scratch using C++ and
you want to avoid all the possible design errors C++ allows you to do,
maybe use some tools or class libraries as well, obey some coding standard, etc,
then you'll spend quite a bit of time without being productive. Good C++ programming
costs a lot of time in the beginning; if you prepare for future reuse in a 
serious way, most benefits are down the road. You'll miss them almost certainly
if you rush into coding.
Anyway, my boss ran out of patience, and I more or less had to stop using C++.
Luckily, the next project made much more short-term progress, so I could keep my job
until he left academia.

** I am still looking for a better programming language, without success, 
and my conclusion is: C++/C is really bad, but there is nothing better around.

On a final note, you should be flexible regarding the platform/operating system:
at least UNIX, Mac, PC. This is no big deal compared to the intrinsic
problems of C++. gcc/g++ for example runs under lots of operating systems.

fuellen at mit.edu
The convex hull of all disclaimers made on usenet last year applies to this mess

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