The interesting thing is that most of his examples depended on having an understanding on how underlying mechanisms worked – usually the .NET Framework. He also illustrated differences between the .NET Framework 1.1 and 2.0 that has an effect on coding practices when moving from one to the other. The common thread was that writing good code required knowledge of more than just the programming language (C# or VB.NET, in this case).
I like abstractions. They tend to simplify otherwise difficult concepts, and accelerate productivity for programmers. But I found myself nodding in agreement with both Jackie and Joel, in that knowing your programming language is not enough. I have never encountered the situation that Joel describes (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/GuerrillaInterviewing3.html), in which programmers simply do not get pointers, but I can see it happening without a proper grounding in languages.
But the point that you need a deep understanding of everything the computer is doing still holds. Jackie's poor code did run, and was correct, but use managed memory poorly, or used an inappropriate .NET class or method. The fact remains that if you do not know what the underlying layers are doing, you will make the wrong programming decisions.
Posted by Peter Varhol on 10/29/2006 at 1:15 PM
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