systems programming versus application programming

Discussion in 'Java' started by Matt, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that they
    require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems programmers
    don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    programmers.

    What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    thanks!!
     
    Matt, Jul 19, 2004
    #1
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  2. Matt

    Roedy Green Guest

    On 18 Jul 2004 17:09:06 -0700, (Matt) wrote or
    quoted :

    >What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    >thanks!!


    The most maintainable code is well separated into layers so that you
    don't muddle complex computer science with business logic.

    Java, as written, is usually dreadful in that regard. It is missing
    application layers to handle things like formatting and validation.
    This is always done as if for the first time, in the style of monks
    creating an illuminated manuscript, hand tweaked.

    To fully appreciate this, visit Bali. It is a beautiful place, where
    everything happens with majestic slowness. You would swear everyone
    was doing everything for the first time. However, this is not a way
    to get code written quickly or maintainably.

    You also want to write code so that idiots can maintain it. If it is
    well layered, people with quite low skill level can safely manipulate
    the upper layers using only monkey see monkey do.

    The error system people make is not having a full appreciation for
    brevity. They do each thing only once. They typically don't realise
    the effect every extra word has on destroying the maintainability of
    repetitive code that uses their tools.

    The error application people make is failing to encapsulate logic.
    Instead, they clone and modify.

    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Roedy Green, Jul 19, 2004
    #2
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  3. Matt wrote:

    > I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    > programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that they
    > require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems programmers
    > don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    > programmers.
    >
    > What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    > thanks!!


    I just think they're different tasks, neither is inheirently 'better'
    than the other. Although, each kind of programming needs an
    understanding of the other IMO.
     
    Peter Ashford, Jul 19, 2004
    #3
  4. Matt

    IchBin Guest

    Well being a systems programmer for 10 yrs in the 80's and 90's there was
    basically one language: assembler. The programming main book you need, for
    assembler, was the "Principle of Operations" (IBM) . In fact I still have my
    version. Working and consulting at fortune 100 companies meant that if you
    screwed up your whole operating system would be down. Naturally their entire
    network(s). So your perspective would be different than that of an
    application programmer. Not to say there was less pressure. But if you did
    bad work your name would get around if you worked only in one city. As to
    programming it was all low level. IBM was since moved a lot of code into the
    microcode. Just think about it relative to a PC. There are system
    programmers for that also. How do you think there job is relative to yours?
    Weather it is C or assembler it's all relative to the ISO layer your are
    programming with. I find the PC application programming very loose (sloppy)
    in most cases because the coding is just done to get it done. .Sorry, just
    my experience.

    IchBin

    "Peter Ashford" <> wrote in message
    news:L5GKc.1984$...
    > Matt wrote:
    >
    > > I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    > > programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that

    they
    > > require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems

    programmers
    > > don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    > > programmers.
    > >
    > > What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    > > thanks!!

    >
    > I just think they're different tasks, neither is inheirently 'better'
    > than the other. Although, each kind of programming needs an
    > understanding of the other IMO.
     
    IchBin, Jul 19, 2004
    #4
  5. Matt

    Liz Guest

    "IchBin" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Well being a systems programmer for 10 yrs in the 80's and 90's there was
    > basically one language: assembler. The programming main book you need, for
    > assembler, was the "Principle of Operations" (IBM) . In fact I still have

    my
    > version. Working and consulting at fortune 100 companies meant that if you
    > screwed up your whole operating system would be down. Naturally their

    entire
    > network(s). So your perspective would be different than that of an
    > application programmer. Not to say there was less pressure. But if you did
    > bad work your name would get around if you worked only in one city. As to
    > programming it was all low level. IBM was since moved a lot of code into

    the
    > microcode. Just think about it relative to a PC. There are system
    > programmers for that also. How do you think there job is relative to

    yours?
    > Weather it is C or assembler it's all relative to the ISO layer your are
    > programming with. I find the PC application programming very loose

    (sloppy)
    > in most cases because the coding is just done to get it done. .Sorry,

    just
    > my experience.
    >
    > IchBin
    >
    > "Peter Ashford" <> wrote in message
    > news:L5GKc.1984$...
    > > Matt wrote:
    > >
    > > > I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    > > > programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that

    > they
    > > > require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems

    > programmers
    > > > don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    > > > programmers.
    > > >
    > > > What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn

    more.
    > > > thanks!!

    > >
    > > I just think they're different tasks, neither is inheirently 'better'
    > > than the other. Although, each kind of programming needs an
    > > understanding of the other IMO.

    >
    >

    Systems programmers are smart, applications programmers are bafoons.

    BTW: How come you didn't use 's' which was available for systems programming
    on IBM 360/370 in the 70's
     
    Liz, Jul 19, 2004
    #5
  6. Matt

    marcus Guest

    IchBin,
    These were the opinions expressed in my household growing up in the 70's
    and 80's. Except that my father's programmer buddies thought assembler
    was for wusses -- they only worked on the "bare metal". I once saw an
    engineer actually program the bootstrap into a mini using the front
    panel switches. From memory. It was kinda like being in the presence
    of Turing.

    My opinion, for what it's worth:
    system's programmers would very likely be unwilling to work in an
    environment where shortcuts and kludges were required to hit a Christmas
    marketing deadline. They would find it offensive to their work ethic.

    applications programmers would find the rigors of systems level work
    overly finicky and exacting -- also, surprisingly, offensive to their
    work ethic. Since the end user's PC is probably loaded with spyware,
    the DirextX drivers need constant patching, and the OS only works at
    around 95% accuracy anyway, what's the big deal? If you take the time
    to make it perfect, someone else will have the market share.

    My father's goal was 100 lines of proven code a day. That was 100 lines
    of APL, BTW.

    So Matt -- do you really just want to know who gets paid more? Wo has
    the respect of their peers? Who has more job satisfaction?

    Kinda like comparing a micro-surgeon attaching a finger with a
    tummy-tucker cranking out lipo jobs.
    -- clh

    IchBin wrote:
    > Well being a systems programmer for 10 yrs in the 80's and 90's there was
    > basically one language: assembler. The programming main book you need, for
    > assembler, was the "Principle of Operations" (IBM) . In fact I still have my
    > version. Working and consulting at fortune 100 companies meant that if you
    > screwed up your whole operating system would be down. Naturally their entire
    > network(s). So your perspective would be different than that of an
    > application programmer. Not to say there was less pressure. But if you did
    > bad work your name would get around if you worked only in one city. As to
    > programming it was all low level. IBM was since moved a lot of code into the
    > microcode. Just think about it relative to a PC. There are system
    > programmers for that also. How do you think there job is relative to yours?
    > Weather it is C or assembler it's all relative to the ISO layer your are
    > programming with. I find the PC application programming very loose (sloppy)
    > in most cases because the coding is just done to get it done. .Sorry, just
    > my experience.
    >
    > IchBin
    >
    > "Peter Ashford" <> wrote in message
    > news:L5GKc.1984$...
    >
    >>Matt wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    >>>programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that

    >>

    > they
    >
    >>>require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems

    >>

    > programmers
    >
    >>>don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    >>>programmers.
    >>>
    >>>What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    >>>thanks!!

    >>
    >>I just think they're different tasks, neither is inheirently 'better'
    >>than the other. Although, each kind of programming needs an
    >>understanding of the other IMO.

    >
    >
    >
     
    marcus, Jul 19, 2004
    #6
  7. Matt

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Sun, 18 Jul 2004 23:46:44 -0700, marcus <> wrote or
    quoted :

    > I once saw an
    >engineer actually program the bootstrap into a mini using the front
    >panel switches. From memory. It was kinda like being in the presence
    >of Turing.


    booting from the panel was not that unusual. You even did it circa
    1978 with the 8080 and CPM and S-100 bus.

    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Roedy Green, Jul 19, 2004
    #7
  8. Matt

    Matt Guest

    >So Matt -- do you really just want to know who gets paid more? Wo has
    >the respect of their peers? Who has more job satisfaction?


    marcus: Yeah, so what's your opinion? thanks!
     
    Matt, Jul 19, 2004
    #8
  9. Matt

    marcus Guest

    Matt, I don't have one -- I am an entirely self-taught kludger

    Matt wrote:
    >>So Matt -- do you really just want to know who gets paid more? Wo has
    >>the respect of their peers? Who has more job satisfaction?

    >
    >
    > marcus: Yeah, so what's your opinion? thanks!
     
    marcus, Jul 19, 2004
    #9
  10. >>So Matt -- do you really just want to know who gets paid more? Wo has
    >>the respect of their peers? Who has more job satisfaction?
    >>
    >>Kinda like comparing a micro-surgeonattaching a finger
    >>with a tummy-tucker cranking out lipo jobs.

    >
    > marcus: Yeah, so what's your opinion?


    You're missing the point, marcus opinion is mainly relevant to marcus...

    *You* have to decide; which job would *you* prefer?
    (assuming your skillset covers both).
     
    Thomas Schodt, Jul 19, 2004
    #10
  11. Matt

    Liz Guest

    "Roedy Green" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sun, 18 Jul 2004 23:46:44 -0700, marcus <> wrote or
    > quoted :
    >
    > > I once saw an
    > >engineer actually program the bootstrap into a mini using the front
    > >panel switches. From memory. It was kinda like being in the presence
    > >of Turing.

    >
    > booting from the panel was not that unusual. You even did it circa
    > 1978 with the 8080 and CPM and S-100 bus.


    Ok, I was doing it in 1971 with a PDP-11, so there.


    >
    > --
    > Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    > Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    > See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Liz, Jul 19, 2004
    #11
  12. Matt

    Sam Guest

    (Matt) wrote in message news:<>...
    > I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    > programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that they
    > require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems programmers
    > don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    > programmers.
    >
    > What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    > thanks!!



    (Matt) wrote in message news:<>...
    > I was told that people who do systems level programming are better
    > programmers than people who write applications. My perspective is that they
    > require different skills sets. One of the views is that systems programmers
    > don't require too much object-oriented design skills than applications
    > programmers.
    >
    > What do u think? And please discuss because I really want to learn more.
    > thanks!!


    I tried systems programming for about a year, way back in the
    eighties. I didn't have any trouble with learning the concepts, in
    fact that was one reason I got the job - I had helped explain stuff
    during an in-house class by the tech support consultant. However, I
    found it a somewhat dry in that it consisted of making sure everything
    was well organized and neat and up-to-date - you had to be a bit anal
    to be really good at it. The thing about applications is that in many
    cases you're given the opportunity to develop a system from scratch.
    There is a lot more room to envision and create and develop solutions.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that you can have system
    programmers who are hacks and not that good, and app developers who
    can program circles around them. I've experience this many times. You
    really have to approach on a case-by-case basis.

    Sam90
     
    Sam, Jul 20, 2004
    #12
  13. Matt

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 21:24:42 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote or
    quoted :

    >> booting from the panel was not that unusual. You even did it circa
    >> 1978 with the 8080 and CPM and S-100 bus.

    >
    >Ok, I was doing it in 1971 with a PDP-11, so there.


    I was trying to show this booting ritual is NOT that ancient.

    I was doing it in 1964 on the 7044, in 1968 with LGP-30, and later
    with the PDP-8. Circa 1977 the Apple ][ came with the BIOS in ROM and
    very rapidly the practice died out.

    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Roedy Green, Jul 20, 2004
    #13
  14. Matt

    Liz Guest

    "Roedy Green" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 21:24:42 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote or
    > quoted :
    >
    > >> booting from the panel was not that unusual. You even did it circa
    > >> 1978 with the 8080 and CPM and S-100 bus.

    > >
    > >Ok, I was doing it in 1971 with a PDP-11, so there.

    >
    > I was trying to show this booting ritual is NOT that ancient.
    >
    > I was doing it in 1964 on the 7044, in 1968 with LGP-30, and later
    > with the PDP-8. Circa 1977 the Apple ][ came with the BIOS in ROM and
    > very rapidly the practice died out.


    Finally someone really impresses me.
    I remember buying and programming a RAM board that had 16 words (32 bytes)
    on the PDP-11 by cutting out resistors.
    Got any more stories? This is fun.


    >
    > --
    > Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    > Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    > See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Liz, Jul 20, 2004
    #14
  15. Matt

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 00:52:00 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote or
    quoted :

    >Finally someone really impresses me.
    >I remember buying and programming a RAM board that had 16 words (32 bytes)
    >on the PDP-11 by cutting out resistors.
    >Got any more stories? This is fun.


    The furthest I go back is to programming the 407 lister and the
    reproducing gang punch using gold-tipped wires. My first personal
    computer, the LGP-30 had paper tape, 6 level, no RAM, just a rotating
    magnetic drum. It filled a room in my basement. See
    http://mindprod.com/equipment.html


    I wrote what may be the world's first form letter with it. It had
    spectacular results. I got a phone call that went something like
    this: "I'm Mr. xxx head of RCA. I don't know who you are, or how you
    did this, but if you ever have any trouble again, please call me
    personally at this number xxxx"

    The beast produced output that looked like it had been hand typed on
    an old manual typewriter, complete with two colour ribbon.

    Even though the equipment would be infinitely frustrating by today's
    standards, I think I had more fun with it back then. Partly it was
    because you TOTALLY understood your machine. You were completely
    engaged.

    Today's programming is much like pressing an elevator button. You make
    the elevator come, but you really have no idea of the mechanism.
    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Roedy Green, Jul 20, 2004
    #15
  16. Matt

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 01:01:34 GMT, Roedy Green
    <> wrote or quoted :

    >The furthest I go back is to programming the 407 lister and the
    >reproducing gang punch using gold-tipped wires.


    Perhaps even further back was programming the keypunch with an 80
    column card fitted to a drum. Oddly this gave BETTER data validation
    than today's Java.

    With it you could define the lengths of fields on the card, autoskip,
    auto dup from the previous card, accept numeric only, right justify
    numbers.

    I think I even remember some of the codes still.
    12 field continuation
    11 skip
    0 dup
    1 alpha allowed

    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming.
    See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
     
    Roedy Green, Jul 20, 2004
    #16
  17. Matt

    Sudsy Guest

    Liz wrote:
    <snip>
    > Finally someone really impresses me.
    > I remember buying and programming a RAM board that had 16 words (32 bytes)
    > on the PDP-11 by cutting out resistors.
    > Got any more stories? This is fun.


    Sure! If it wasn't for the MMU on the PDP/11-45s and 70s then we would
    never have had UNIX. Being able to separate kernel from user space was
    essential. If you look at the genesis of operating systems, Linus
    Torvalds never would have arrived at Linux, save for the research at
    Bell Labs in New Jersey...
    Of course the Berkely Standard Distribution was key to the virtual
    memory management model on the VAX 11-750/780 series...
    So now we have UNIX for the Z-Series (mainframes)
    Cool, no?
     
    Sudsy, Jul 20, 2004
    #17
  18. Matt

    Liz Guest

    "Sudsy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Liz wrote:
    > <snip>
    > > Finally someone really impresses me.
    > > I remember buying and programming a RAM board that had 16 words (32

    bytes)
    > > on the PDP-11 by cutting out resistors.
    > > Got any more stories? This is fun.

    >
    > Sure! If it wasn't for the MMU on the PDP/11-45s and 70s then we would
    > never have had UNIX. Being able to separate kernel from user space was
    > essential. If you look at the genesis of operating systems, Linus
    > Torvalds never would have arrived at Linux, save for the research at
    > Bell Labs in New Jersey...
    > Of course the Berkely Standard Distribution was key to the virtual
    > memory management model on the VAX 11-750/780 series...
    > So now we have UNIX for the Z-Series (mainframes)
    > Cool, no?
    >

    If you look at the early code for the PDP-11 you see comments about
    "make this work for big machines" where they meant "big" to be more
    than 16K words because then numeric values flipped to negative. Mainly
    this was for addressing and using instructions like "bcc" branch on
    carry bit clear type stuff. Of course, then all the floating point
    was in software.
     
    Liz, Jul 20, 2004
    #18
  19. On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 21:24:42 GMT, Liz wrote:

    > Ok, I was doing it in 1971 with a PDP-11, so there.


    I love it when you 'talk dirty', Liz.. ;-)
     
    Andrew Thompson, Jul 20, 2004
    #19
  20. Liz wrote:

    > "Roedy Green" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>On Sun, 18 Jul 2004 23:46:44 -0700, marcus <> wrote or
    >>quoted :
    >>
    >>
    >>>I once saw an
    >>>engineer actually program the bootstrap into a mini using the front
    >>>panel switches. From memory. It was kinda like being in the presence
    >>>of Turing.

    >>
    >>booting from the panel was not that unusual. You even did it circa
    >>1978 with the 8080 and CPM and S-100 bus.

    >
    >
    > Ok, I was doing it in 1971 with a PDP-11, so there.


    Heh. I was *born* in 1971 :eek:)
     
    Peter Ashford, Jul 20, 2004
    #20
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