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In the Perl programming world there's a notorious mantra, acronymized as TIMTOWTDI (or sometimes TMTOWTDI) and pronounced in its abbreviation as "Tim Towtdi". It stands for:

There Is More Than One Way To Do It

and it encapsulates a deep philosophical choice of Perl's designers.

At the opposite end of the spectrum Awk, Scheme, and some other computer languages take as their polestar orthogonality, the mathematical idea that every linguistic feature should be independent of every other feature, so that each component makes the maximum possible contribution to the result. No redundancy, in other words. One might summarize this school of thought as TSBOOWTDI:

There Shall Be Only One Way To Do It

Good arguments abound on both sides: practicality versus beauty, flexibility versus simplicity, human efficiency versus machine efficiency, and so forth.

The challenge for the real world is to find the right balance between the two extremes. (And doesn't the same debate rage in other realms, e.g., religion and politics?)

(see LearningInconsistency (12 Oct 1999), MudAndCrystals (13 Nov 1999), OutOfMyWay (24 May 2001), TuringComplete (10 Oct 2001), PersonalProgrammingHistory (2 Apr 2002), TheMetagame (18 Feb 2003), MysteryToMe (30 May 2003), ...)

TopicProgramming - TopicPhilosophy - TopicScience - Datetag20040207

(correlates: TruckNumber, ChurchOfOntology, YouCanHaveItAll, ...)