Developer/Designer Notes

Grasp Principles of Programming Languages

Posted by Kiran Mova on March 14, 2007

I am not writing about the actual principles here, but why I think grasping the principles of programming language is relevant to my job.

Here is a situation. I tend to think myself as a core-coder. Assume I just got a new project that I need to complete as soon as possible. Being a coder, my approach to new tasks is to look from a code-perspective. To be more precise, I am thinking about the project in my favorite programming language. Ever had this feeling?

Well, over the years I have read literature that told me to stop doing that. Think of the task in terms of design language.. more abstract terms. Leave the implementation for a latter time. How do I do that?

What has worked for me or what I have learnt is to make myself learn new languages. I make some time in my day for learning new tools and techniques and think about how I could have implemented it in this new language. This isn’t very easy with new technologies emerging every day.

So I have now started to pay close attention to the actual concepts being implemented by the programming language. The concept remains the same, each language has its own way of implementing it. I can now compare effectively between languages and the needs of my project to choose the best programming language. I no longer choose a language because that is either the only one or that it is my favorite language.

Well, what I have realized after several years of experience is what was actually taught to me in college as an academic subject. Of course, I never get it unless I experience it..

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