Spectrum of Abstraction

I was watching this video, and Anders said something that finally crystalized my view on abstraction:

It's the spectrum of abstraction that defines the power of a tool, not the level of abstraction.

I've heard the phrase, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", and tie it to abstraction. I've kind of agreed with this, but to me that trashes abstraction too much. Andres really nails it, because he says, so long as you can get to any level that the abstraction hides and make you patch/fix/improvement with ease, you're good to go. I totally agree with this. I like to abstract complex problems with APIs that simply the view. But it's hard to get a good 100% abstraction over complex problems, and we'll always need to keep "escape hatches" around (as Anders called it).

* Posted at 01.22.2007 08:05:20 PM CST | Link *

Blog History