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- Subject: Re: Lua Certification - an informal discussion
- From: Lucas Ackerman <glitch@...>
- Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 16:01:05 -0400
Science and art both require critical peer-review, regardless of our
opinions on how their products are used.
I agree more or less that certification has its place (commodification of
basic skills). For a computer scientist like myself, it would be next to
useless, because I'm not really in their target market at all, despite
being a big fan of Lua. Many of us are happy to sneer from the ivory
tower at those who must utilize such tools. However, I can see the value
in them establishing a positive relationship and feedback with the Lua
community, for the test to have some merit and the community some
satisfaction, so long as no parties are misrepresented.
I too would suggest public evaluation of their test, even if only to help
improve it as tool for the Lua community. Like most here (I suspect) I'm
not interested in the certification itself or making any kind of
endorsement. As a business, this may or may not be appealing to them,
probably depending on whether it sucks, or if they fear open competition.
There may be a few willing guinea pigs on the list here.
Prior to seeing it, my primary concern would be that Lua's greatest
strengths: embeddability, flexibility, extensibility, also lead to
fragmentation of its user bases and community as a whole. Many people
come to Lua through its embedded use in many different domains, and thus
have backgrounds emphasizing different skills, idioms, and language
features, and such as reflected by the environments they use Lua in.
The common Lua syntax is (typically) the same in most domains, but the
semantics can vary widely (an extreme example: I'm working on an
experimental contextual/component/logic language for games based on Lua,
and it's very very weird, but it's still Lua code).
So, to make a concrete suggestion, it might be appropriate to break down
and focus different tests or sections on the primary kinds of Lua uses
(the basics, metatables, libraries, C Apis, etc), and the dominant styles
(object oriented, structured, functional, threaded/coroutined, etc).
E.g, I rarely touch the C-Api myself, since you can write that stuff once
and forget about it. You might want to score the test for specific areas
of knowledge, as well as total general capacity with Lua. In any case, it
should be clear what the scope and domain of the certification is. If
it's only a single pass or fail, that seems problematic, as the test is
passed with 33 correct answers of 60 multiple choice questions, in 14
areas, according to the website.
The fundamental question, it would seem, is what knowledge is universally
required among proficient users of Lua. My answer would be along the
lines of "very little", but I can't speak for everyone.