Working on Imperative Programming Code Ain’t Fun

Have you ever read someone else’s code that has more than 20 lines? If so, I’m sure you came to appreciate a few things about software engineering. For example, the code being documented comes in very handy. Another crucial thing is: in what ways and if at all does this and this method/function change the state of its input parameter and possibly a hidden state somewhere at lower layers?

Courtesy of Mark Skipper

Courtesy of Mark Skipper

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Going with JVM Languages

export lang_path=scala:java:aspectj:clojure:${lang_path}

IBM punched card Accounting Machines

IBM punched card Accounting Machines in 1936

When choosing a programming language to write in, one of the most important concerns is the trade off between the writing abstraction level and computational resources needed to execute the program you’re writing. If we look back to the beginning of the 20th century, we will see that machines were programmed by inserting wire jumpers into removable control panels. Since those days, the program writing abstraction level has been rising. Today we don’t write applications by fiddling with wires, punch cards, or do anything that involves moving physical components around. When programming, we write software that most of the time completely abstracts away the hardware the software will be running on. (Exemptions to this are operating systems, firmware, and other software that has direct access to the underlying hardware.) Applications we write don’t interact with the hardware directly. Instead, there are a few layers of abstractions that take care of concerns such as the type of display device, which processor is running program instructions, etc. Continue reading