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There's a difference between needing to understand how something works in order to use it, and needing to understand it in order to build and maintain it. I'm sure so long as the lower levels use Perl, then people will need to know Perl (besides just for personal fulfillment). But that number could be a lot smaller than it currently is. (I'm not trying to predict the demise of Perl here, I'm just saying that if the goal of a much higher level of abstraction was achieved, this is how it could potentially be.)

There are also good and bad implementations of higher level abstraction. Someone might try to implement a Natural English programming language that compiled to Perl code, but unless they made their abstraction layer extremely smart, it probably wouldn't work very well. But that's no reason to cast out the idea of having a Natural English programming language. If it could be implemented well, it would be something that would probably be very useful. The difference between a good and bad abstraction layer is how smart the layer is. If it's good at understanding what the programmer (or user) is trying to do, and optimising it, then it's much more likely to be successful.

Sometimes, levels of abstraction are attempted too early. That is, we needed one or more intermediate levels before the higher one was possible. For example, if someone had tried to implement Class:DBI without DBI, it might've been a huge failure. Again, this isn't a reason to say Class:DBI is a level of abstraction too high, just that we need to wait until the intermediate levels are completed (something which can take a long time - they have to be mature) until the next level is possible.

I'm sure there are plenty of attempts to create a level of abstraction that are implemented poorly, or are just before their time. Perl tends to be good at not rushing towards higher levels.

In reply to Re^3: Appropriate amount of abstraction by Mutant
in thread Appropriate amount of abstraction by gunzip

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