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adrw // Andrew Alexander

Choose the Right Level of Abstraction

Tech1 min read

Software engineering done well is the art of abstraction.

Well designed abstractions provide for higher level manipulation of state, processes, business logic...etc without worrying about the more complicated implementation details.

Unfortunately, abstractions can be leaky,

Here are a few recent examples I've encountered where choosing the right level of abstraction can make all the difference.

Bash or Java?

A long-running Kotlin service encounters system resource constraints. To solve this, hourly it must use a CLI to choose a new VPN server and force quit an application.

Bash or Java?

Initially, I tried with Kotlin and floundered around with ProcessRunners and other class abstractions of a Bash or CLI environment.

Even basic tasks like storing the stdout from a command were painful.

I soon realized the value of a much better abstraction for this task: cron jobs!

A very short bash script and crontab later, and my job was done.

Every hour on the hour, new VPN servers were selected and applications were violently killed without mercy.

For a basic regular task that already relied on CLI tools, a JVM language was frought with unnessary complexity.

Go or Kotlin?

An ongoing debate, or at this point rather religious crusade, at work is the usage of Go or Kotlin for microservices.

Again, the correct level of abstraction rears its head.

While Go offers excellent parallelism, simplicitt

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