Fang Talks

Now with random slogans!
08 05 14

On using tools

Specifically in the field of computer science. Tools here being a poorly-chosen encapsulating term for frameworks, libraries and… tools.

And given this is just, like, my opinion man, and that I have very little experience with actually large projects, take this all with a grain of salt. No, make that a couple tablespoons. We sort of went over this in class today, and there were some opinions being thrown around. I’m a middle-ground guy when it comes to this, so I’ll try to share both sides of the coin.
In computer science, programming, there’s a lot of very basic stuff you’ll often find yourself doing over and over again for different projects. If you’re the smart kind of guy (which you should aim to be) you turn those things into reusable snippets so you can just grab ’em from the shelf if you need them for something else. But why go through the trouble writing all those basic things in the first place if there’s tools that can generate it for you, or frameworks that handle all of it already?

Sometimes it can be good to disregard all that and stick with the basics. Write stuff from scratch, do things by hand, all that good stuff. It can teach you a lot about the lower-level workings of whatever you’re involved with. With this better understanding of your weapon of choice, you can fight your battles much better.

But then once you’ve learned what there is to learn, it may be worth your while looking at cool libraries to integrate into your projects, frameworks to build them with, and tools to smooth out your workflow. I remember stumbling upon SASS, which extends CSS’ syntax with buttloads of awesome. It makes styling websites, and making changes to that styling, way simpler and much swifter. After integrating it into my workflow, productivity increased!
And that’s only a single, small example. Things like Bootstrap can get you a nice kickstart in making function-oriented sites appear pleasing, frameworks will ease up application development, and before you go out and write your own set of classes to support a specific function, there’s probably a library you can download that does the work for you.

Me? I’m still in denying about their potential and hardheadedly develop most stuff from scratch. I feel like a baby-tier programmer, but hey, at least I’m having fun, sort of?
~ Fang


  • 10/05/2014 (12:52 AM)

    It’s nice that we don’t have to write assembly code anymore. It’s a huge plus. But taking it too much for granted can have more “heartbleed” type bugs where everyone is using a dependency and nobody is actually checking it lol.

  • 09/05/2014 (1:55 AM)

    I’m really not a major fan of doing the same thing over, and over, and over again. One of the few exceptions is when it’s the framework of something. When it’s the base foundation. I have to say, if I had something that could do that for me, I’d probably use it.

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