The Eiffel Method


by Andreas Schipplock

Introduction

There was a time when I tried almost every programming and scripting language out there just because out of curiosity. When I discovered the MOOC "Computing: Art, Magic, Science" held by Bertrand Meyer and Marco Piccioni from ETH Z'rich at edx.org I was kind of shocked. This course is teaching the "The Eiffel Method and Language" but more the method than the language. I immediately signed up just because Bertrand Meyer is doing this MOOC. He's the father of the Eiffel programming language.

I was shocked becaused I used, or at least tried to use, the Eiffel programming language many years ago as I was enthusiastic about object oriented pascal back in the days and I always feel "love" when I see something as expressive as pascal. And I'm not saying Eiffel is like pascal. It's kind of completely different but it's still very expressive. I can't remember exactly why I didn't continue to use Eiffel but I believe it was too professional back then...for me. Many years ago I was more like a "hacker" and I just wanted to play around and get things done. But nowadays I want to immortalize myself in code. I want to produce high quality code because that's the way to stand out of the mess. And I'm pretty sure every programmer knows this mess. And I'm even more pretty sure that every sane developer wants to produce high quality code and not this mess people are used to.

I'm extremely interested and I'm eagerly following this MOOC. I'm pretty sure I will do something with Eiffel in the future. It's very expressive, there is a nice IDE (EiffelStudio) and there are lot of people giving support. There's even commercial support if needed. The base library is big.

However, I personally wouldn't recommend Eiffel for production code. I experienced many good parts of Eiffel which I can re-use to some extend in other programming languages but I probably wouldn't use Eiffel itself for production code. Eiffel might be perfectly fine but there is simply no big community that can help you in case of a problem. Even for simple things your favourite search engine won't find anything useful. You won't find many 'enterprise' libraries as well so if you want to create something, you probably have to implement everything yourself. This isn't an option for most companies.

Eiffel is really a refreshing experience that I didn't have in all those years. If you plan to take part in the MOOC at edx.org I recommend to buy the book "Touch of Class" (ISBN-13: 978-3540921448). It's one of the best books I've ever read. It's written by Bertrand Meyer. I recommend the book even though you are not taking part in this MOOC. It's a great book and you can apply most of the techniques to other programming and scripting languages.

I admit this booklet is poor but I like Eiffel so much I had to write about it. Excuse me.

I hope this text was useful.