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Re: Appropriate amount of abstraction

by TomDLux (Vicar)
on Nov 15, 2004 at 16:43 UTC ( #407871=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Appropriate amount of abstraction

Seventy years ago, people were taught how a telephone works. Who cares?---other than people whose job involves telephone internals, of course. My mom's boyfriend's understanding of a packet of carbon dust being compressed by sound waves does not make him less or more capable of picking up a phone and dialing a number. Everything he learned about how a phone works is obsolete, but everything he learned about how to use a phone is still valid, on a land line, a wireless, a cell phone...other than asking the telephone operator for a date

Twenty-five years ago I was interested in digital logic, microprocessors, RAM, ROM, and so on. The bulk of what I learned is irrelevant when you look at a 4GHz P4, the little that remains is no better an explanation than, "it happens by magic".

How, precisely, does MySQL process a query involving three tables and a sub-select? What happens, detail by detail, from the moment you type a URL into your web browser, to the point where the display is complete?

When I took the dreaded trains course at UWaterloo, the final exam had one question where we had to describe the first time one processes sent a message to another process in the real-time operating system we had written. It took me 1 1/2 hours and 5 pages to discuss everything that took place.

Theach them at a high level, and point out where additional info is available. You often wind up looking at details during debugging, so the person will pick up information during their work. If they don't ever need it, they'll have been spared learning things that aren't important to them.


Comment on Re: Appropriate amount of abstraction
Re^2: Appropriate amount of abstraction
by bageler (Hermit) on Nov 16, 2004 at 16:32 UTC
    I say that in any case where SQL is being used, knowing the queries and being able to optimize them by hand is crucial to the core performance of the application. It should absolutely be required knowledge. There are some guys in my company using java that work at a higher SQL abstraction level and their apps are slower than molasses. A little hand sql tuning and it turned to tip top shape.

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