Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Web Pages by People Who Don't Understand Algorithms

I've used the Online Etymology Dictionary a few times and basically like it. But it's used to look up words. Words have spellings. To browse, picking the first letter, then the second, then the third, etc. would make the most sense. Did I mention that words have spellings? This would be easily implemented as a trie. Instead, we're expected to pick the first letter, and then use a number, like page 23 of the letters starting with 'b'. Two explanations: (1) whoever designed the page didn't care; (2) whoever designed the page didn't have a software background, and so never thought to use a trie.

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