Joel on Software – The Law of Leaky Abstractions

Joel on Software – The Law of Leaky Abstractions

One reason the law of leaky abstractions is problematic is that it means that abstractions do not really simplify our lives as much as they were meant to. When I’m training someone to be a C programmer, it would be nice if I never had to teach them about char*’s and pointer arithmetic. It would be nice if I could go straight to STL strings. But one day they’ll write the code “foo” “bar”, and truly bizarre things will happen, and then I’ll have to stop and teach them all about char*’s anyway. Or one day they’ll be trying to call a Windows API function that is documented as having an OUT LPTSTR argument and they won’t be able to understand how to call it until they learn about char*’s, and pointers, and Unicode, and wchar_t’s, and the TCHAR header files, and all that stuff that leaks up.

A really easy to read and clear article abour many complex things, including the reason why the world can keep getting worse.

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