Angel \”Java\” Lopez on Blog

June 3, 2011

Raise the Level of Abstraction (Part 1) Introduction

Filed under: AjGenesis, Code Generation, Software Development — ajlopez @ 10:14 am

This century I wrote many posts about Code Generation. It’s a topic interested me since the eighties: how to make programs that write programs. But it’s not only code generation: it’s code generation from a model. That’s the key point to emphasize. Now, I want to write about the basis of such pragmatic solution to some of the problems in software development. My main assertion:

Code Generation From Model is an exercise of Raise the Level of Abstraction

The history of programming is a history of “raising the level of abstraction”. Instead to manipulate switch in the front panel of the first computers, we write programs using a language that is an abstraction: we use “int a”, as an abstraction of a word in memory. We write “foo(bar)” as an abstraction of save state in a stack, and jump to a memory address: we don’t write BALR (Branch and Link Register) instructions in IBM mainframe assembly language. Every day we use code generation: from the general/specific domain language our compilers generate the machine code, the only code that counts for our computers.

In this new post series I want to explore and write about these ideas:

– We improve our ideas and skills, but the technology is in constant change
– Abstract Model vs. Technology Models
– Separate problem from solutions
– Distill and reuse the developer knowledge
– Code generation FROM A MODEL as an exercise of abstraction
– Then, code generation from a model has a beneficial side-effect: shed light on the separation of what is important, from what is a technicality
– Code generation can (and must) coexist with human coding

Many of these topics were mentioned in my AjGenesis posts, but it’s time to present them as a integrated whole. The title of this post series “Raise the Level of Abstraction” was born in a technical talk at one of my customers, years ago. It’s good to find the same phrase as a “leit motiv” for Code Generation 2011:

I remember an older phrase from the same site: “code generation for the pragmatic engineer”. Code generation from a model is not a silver bullet: is another bullet, you can use in the right context.

(Note: I found the images at top using Google Image search terms: “two apples”, “two oranges”, “two sheep” and…..  “two person” ;-)… no Microsoft promotion intended)

Keep tuned!

Angel “Java” Lopez

1 Comment »

  1. […] de nuevo como un todo integrado. El título de esta serie “Raise the Level of Abstraction” (ver mi post en inglés) nació en una charla técnica en uno de mis clientes, ya hace unos años. Es bueno encontrar la […]

    Pingback by Elevar el Nivel de Abstracción (Parte 1) Introducción - Angel "Java" Lopez — June 4, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

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