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From Jonathan Revusky <>
Subject Re: JavaCC open sourced on
Date Fri, 13 Jun 2003 18:15:38 GMT
James Maes wrote:
> Does someone have a list of these "missing" features for Velocity?  I know
> it is not checking our email for us yet, but perhaps not every application
> we use needs to do that.


The argument that you or the *current* users in general are by-and-large 
happy with the feature set, and therefore, there is no need for 
enhancements is actually based on a logical fallacy.

You see, there is a statistical problem called "self-selection bias". An 
example of that at work is in the old adage: "In the old days, they used 
to build things to last." Well, I would assume that most of the 
structures built hundreds of years ago are no longer in existence. The 
structures built hundreds of years ago  *that we still observe now* were 
in fact the ones that were built to last.

Or IOW, it is perfectly possible that, in past epochs, there was as much 
shoddy construction as there is now. However, as regards contemporary 
construction, we observe everything, the stuff built to last, and the 
shoddy stuff. What we observe from past historical epochs is really only 
the stuff that was well constructed.

Self-selection bias. There are many examples of fallacious reasoning 
based on this.

Similarly, the fact that most of the current user base of Velocity is 
happy with the current feature set is an example of self-selection bias. 
You see, many people may try to use the tool. Many of them may well find 
that the feature set is adequate. And presumably they go use something 
else. And since, they're not around, you don't observe those people.

In fact, it is probably safe to say that, by and large, the existing 
user base of any given tool is more or less happy with that tool's 
feature set. So, you see, the argument that "Velocity is not missing any 
features because I use it and don't miss anything" is really based on a 
"self-selection bias" logical fallacy.

There is also the point that requirements do change and, at a future 
point, you may well need some feature that the tool does not currently have.

> Velocity as it stands today seems well focused, stable and effective at what
> it does.

Well, isn't everything effective at what it does? (And, likewise, 
ineffective at what it does not do????)

> After working with Velocity over the last 2 years, deploying it in mission
> critical applications, I find it to be a proven technology with a
> first-class record of accomplishment.
> One might take the point of view that the current development cycles for
> Velocity are an indicator of its maturity, rather then measure of its
> viability or future usefulness.

Hmm. What I don't understand about your stance, James, is that, as 
somebody who uses Velocity, you only stand to gain if the tool is 
enhanced. I mean, even if changes or enhancements are made that you 
consider to be for the worse, you can still just keep using the version 
you are using, so you cannot possibly come out worse.

And meanwhile, you could gain from further development. Why would you 
advocate or defend a situation in which development is frozen? It seems 
to run against your interests!

Best Regards,

Jonathan Revusky
lead developer, FreeMarker project,
FreeMarker 2.3pre4 is out!

> As with all other issues, just my opinion.
> James Maes

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