Toxic Elephant

Don't bury it in your back yard!


Posted by matijs 01/09/2006 at 16h31

One of the reasons I enjoyed learning Ruby is that it allowed me to
understand and then use new abstractions. Not all of these are absent from
other languages, but Ruby made them comprehensible for me, so they became
part of my toolbox, if you will.

What this means is that I can write code that does the same thing in fewer
lines, and this in turn makes it easier to keep an overview of all of that

At the same time, there is a whole group of programmers who completely
seem to have missed the abstractions train, or even the abstractions
road. They’re plowing along in the fields, barely able to divide their code
into subroutines beyond the ones forced upon them by their IDEs. These are
the people who write (whitespace added for clarity):

do\_d do\_a do\_b do\_c do\_e do\_a do\_b do\_c do\_f

If the same five things need to be done a hundred times in a given source
file, that’s five hundred lines right there. The abstraction of the
subroutine is not an automatism for them.

So what does it matter whether people get taught programming in Java or in
Ruby, if no-one stops them from creating thousand-line subroutines? I really
wouldn’t know.

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