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Ha, Ha ...  At my age, every day is good if you just wake up! But I do try to
keep my curmudgeonly reputation intact when I can.

But seriously, good coders, in spite of what you may read, are not
necessarily good designers; this is and has always been true of virtually
any profession. A good carpenter, for instance, may do a fantastic job of
constructing someone else's designs, but produce second-rate stuff strictly
on his own. A great cabinet designer might not even know how to create a
dovetail. Or not ... It varies widely and I can't see how anyone can show a
valid correlation. And "stable" is, after all, merely one aspect on which
most companies and users evaluate software: it's necessary, but insufficient
as they say.

Coding is a profession requiring study and experience; a programmer might
also be a decent accountant, or writer, or cook, or whatever, but is usually
at the mercy of those doing the specifications and explanations when
attempting to automate something he's only been recently exposed to - what's
even more difficult to do in an unfamiliar coding exercise is knowing when
it is appropriate for "software" to tackle a task in an entirely different
manner than a human would (compare, for instance, the most efficient ways
for a human to sort a pile of records to the most efficient way for a
machine to sort electronic versions of those same records). Not all good
coders have enough experience to do this successfully.

If you take a look at the documents I referred to, you'll see what I mean:
almost everything can be made to work in the multi-lingual examples I give,
and I would guess that the actual code has probably been cleaned up in all
the recent reviews, but it's still a royal pain to use for multi-lingual
documents. In short, it's a bad, user-hostile design that was coded well.
How many great coders are familiar with more than one or two languages?
(Quite a few actually, but I'm guessing you get my point anyway).

And, as I said, I agree with you that Mendelson's comments seemed very odd
given the circumstances. Perhaps I should contact him and see if he wants to
join us in this discussion.

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