Thursday, June 5, 2008

Recursion in Business Programs

Lately I've been listening to the podcasts at stackoverflow and have been really enjoying them. But, I chuckled a bit while listening to podcast #3. During that episode they get into a discussion of Computer Science vs. Software Engineering and it's during that discussion that Jeff and Joel come to the consensus that outside of systems-level programs like (for example) writing a compiler, recursion is basically useless in garden-variety business apps.

I laughed because just that day I had written a recursive method to traverse a tree containing pages of a medical encylopedia in order to import the pages into an equivalent tree of SharePoint publishing sites. I mean, you don't get much more "business-y" than SharePoint!

So while I agree that recursion is a rare bird in business apps, it does come in handy every now and then.

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