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#1 nobhdy  Icon User is offline

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interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 30 November 2015 - 06:37 PM

Aside from hardware engineering and programming in assembly, what steps can I take to minimize the level of abstraction in my computing, whether it be programming, deployment, software engineering or computer science?

(I'm really irritated by the growing trend of IT people being entirely dependent on some highly-customized in-house IDE and being helpless without that IDE. I see them as no different from secretaries using Excel. The same can be said for nearly all of today's web designers, with their excessive reliance on totally opaque APIs.)

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Replies To: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 30 November 2015 - 06:44 PM

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what steps can I take to minimize the level of abstraction in my computing, whether it be programming, deployment, software engineering or computer science?

Quite a bit is platform dependent.


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helpless without that IDE. I see them as no different from secretaries using Excel. The same can be said for nearly all of today's web designers, with their excessive reliance on totally opaque APIs.)

Nothing says "howdy-doody" like pissing in everyone's cheerios.

Spoiler


I wouldn't mind you taking a step back and explaining the crux of this sore spot.
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#3 nobhdy  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 30 November 2015 - 09:06 PM

Fair enough about "pissing in everyone's Cheerios." I understand that people have to find jobs with employers who are actually doing hiring, and perform the duties those employers assign to them; and if the only workplaces available are spaghetti-code factories run by managerosaurs, then everyone is just stuck regardless of their conscience. So maybe I was a bit harsh in my OP, because I don't blame the programmers for the current state of affairs. I blame the people who have the piles of money needed to initiate software development by large teams of their employees (and those people are almost always to blame for everything). So how about we forget I even brought that up?

And, yeah, I know that low-abstraction programming is highly platform-dependent and even specific-hardware dependent beyond just the plantform. That's not a concern for me because, at this point, I'm not interested in marketing any work product, so it's not an issue if the work product depends only on my hardware. Do you have any further input given that proviso?
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 01 December 2015 - 12:25 AM

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and if the only workplaces available are spaghetti-code factories run by managerosaurs, then everyone is just stuck regardless of their conscience.

Let's dial it back. Just because a company uses a framework, API, or IDE doesn't immediately mean it is some soul crushing experience or personal death.

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So how about we forget I even brought that up?

The bell's been rung, and I am still waiting to hear your background story on why you present such a jaded front.

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That's not a concern for me because, at this point, I'm not interested in marketing any work product,

Then what are you interested in? Your premise is flawed in rejecting all frameworks, IDEs, etc. I have spent plenty of years working in vanilla frameworks with a dash of "company specific" overlays without flailing my hands about screaming I need to be more 'to the metal' and somehow not develop an abstraction to help with my day to day duties.

Yes.. I said duties.
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 01 December 2015 - 12:41 AM

I'm not sure what any of the things you mention have to do with one another. Obviously, finding the right level of abstraction is critical to writing programs that will be maximally useful, so this is an important question, and the usual thing is, as you mention, to try to get more abstraction because this allows us to represent more things. A programming language, viewed in one way, is just a maximally abstract representation of the universe. Granted, you have to do a little work to get it to represent the part you care about, but it's all there if you want it. We would not want a programming language that was only useful for representing, say, bookstores. (though we might like to have a web framework, perhaps a specialized fork of some more general framework, which would be good at representing bookstores - for example, if we were running a bookstore. This might be called a "CMS" of sorts) So you're starting off from a position quite removed from that taken by most of the people who know what they're doing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does suggest that you want to settle down and make your case at some point.

What this has to do with IDEs, I'm not sure - yeah, I'm not big on IDEs, I prefer Emacs on a POSIX-compliant system, but I don't see how this relates to your initial salvo.

And then you're talking about APIs, which is a leap that I'm just not following at all. A web api is just a way of querying someone's site to retrieve information or take actions without having to go through the GUI-driven front end. How does this relate to your other issues?
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#6 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 01 December 2015 - 06:57 AM

Basically: Machine code > Assembly > C > Compiled > Interpreted

That said, it's debatable how close you can get to machine code in a modern system. You're essentially calling APIs offered by the OS. You are NOT making machine calls, but making OS calls that make machine calls. Given this, the choice of language doesn't have all that much impact in most cases. The networking code in C can have about the same performance in Python, as both programs will proxy their calls through some lower level socks layer.

Programming IS an abstraction. Accept it and choose the best tool for the job.
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#7 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:02 AM

Programming without abstraction is a bit like music without instruments.

This seems like a Hollywood style 'hacker' question.

"I'm so close to the metal I don't use abstraction in my code!"

"This IDE uses too many APIs, makes people soft"

Dude I should move to Hollywood and be a tech writer, I can do this all day
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#8 atraub  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:06 AM

This basically summarizes my reaction

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...You're starting off from a position quite removed from that taken by most of the people who know what they're doing.


Abstraction is awesome if it helps get the job done faster. It's your job to know how things work and what the abstraction provides. If you're dependent on it and incapable of functioning without it that's on you, friend.
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#9 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:15 AM

View Postnobhdy, on 30 November 2015 - 08:37 PM, said:

I'm really irritated by the growing trend of IT people being entirely dependent on some highly-customized in-house IDE and being helpless without that IDE.

I'd be interested to know what your source is on this. I've only worked in one shop that forced me to use an IDE, & that was NetBeans for a Java project. Apart from that, I've been welcome to use whatever allows me to get the job done. In all fairness, not all of my work has been development. Of my friends that work in development, those with IDE's are working in dot net, & my understanding of dot net is you must use visual studios.

Through my professional career, neither myself or anyone that I've known has been forced to use an in-house IDE, or even had one available. This makes me incredibly curious of your source for this growing trend.
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#10 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 10 December 2015 - 06:48 AM

Yea - I use Visual Studios for .NET, and I have my choice of Eclipse or Notepad++ for anything else - or if I really want it I can get NetBeans for Java.

The only "in-house" customization we have is a custom bridge between Team Foundation Server and our ticketing system that allows us to essentially enter Defects as Remedy Tickets.

I've never seen a custom IDE. I guess that's because I'm not JP enough.
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#11 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 10 December 2015 - 08:31 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 09 December 2015 - 02:15 PM, said:

my understanding of dot net is you must use visual studios.


Not quite must, more why the hell not. Visual Studio is simply the best IDE I've ever used. You can use command line build tools if you wanted and use your editor of choice, but VS is customizable enough that you'd only be avoiding it out of some misplaced principal.

Actually, VS kind of sucks for C and C++, where it's more a mere editor. But for C# and VB, there's really nothing else close.
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#12 turboscrew  Icon User is offline

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Re: interested in abstraction-free (or minimal-abstraction) computing

Posted 16 December 2015 - 02:02 PM

I wonder if the experience that got to the OP was frustration due to many libraries and frameworks that only give you the API and you can't see anything beyond. That can be very irritating if the docs (if there are any docs) don't tell some important things and you can't know why something doesn't work or if something can be used the way you'd like to use it.

The problem of todays "cargo cult O-O" (as opposed to the philosophically sound O-O) is that the information hiding is taken to mean hiding information from other developers instead of other parts of SW.

I hit onto that hard when I was trying to write C#/WPF for a view that had three fields that should have used auto-suggestion box (like the address bar in IE), and the lists of suggested items were dependent of the selected values of the other fields.
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