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10 Hard Truths Developers Must Learn To Accept

Apr 03, 2012, 10:01 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Wayner)

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"Developer hard truth No. 1: It's all just if-then-else statements

"Language designers argue about closures, typing, and amazing abstractions, but in the end, it's just clever packaging wrapped around good, old if-then-else statements.

"That's pretty much all the hardware offers. Yes, there are op codes for moving data in and out of memory and op codes for arithmetic, but the rest is branch or not branch based on some comparison.

"Folks who dabble in artificial intelligence put a more mysterious cloak around these if-then-else statements, but at the end of the day, the clever statistical recommendation engine is going to choose the largest or smallest value from some matrix of numbers. It will perform calculations, then skim through the list, saying, 'If this greater, else if this greater, else if this greater,' until it derives its decision."

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