Can a low-level programmer learn OOP?

Chris Carlen crcarleRemoveThis at BOGUSsandia.gov
Fri Jul 13 18:06:44 CEST 2007


Hi:

 From what I've read of OOP, I don't get it.  I have also found some 
articles profoundly critical of OOP.  I tend to relate to these articles.

However, those articles were no more objective than the descriptions of 
OOP I've read in making a case.  Ie., what objective 
data/studies/research indicates that a particular problem can be solved 
more quickly by the programmer, or that the solution is more efficient 
in execution time/memory usage when implemented via OOP vs. procedural 
programming?

The problem for me is that I've programmed extensively in C and .asm on 
PC DOS way back in 1988.  Then didn't program for nearly 10 years during 
which time OOP was popularized.  Starting in 1999 I got back into 
programming, but the high-level-ness of PC programming and the 
completely foreign language of OOP repelled me.  My work was in analog 
and digital electronics hardware design, so naturally I started working 
with microcontrollers in .asm and C.  Most of my work involves low-level 
signal conditioning and real-time control algorithms, so C is about as 
high-level as one can go without seriously loosing efficiency.  The 
close-to-the-machine-ness of C is ideal here.  This is a realm that I 
truly enjoy and am comfortable with.

Hence, being a hardware designer rather than a computer scientist, I am 
conditioned to think like a machine.  I think this is the main reason 
why OOP has always repelled me.

Perhaps the only thing that may have clicked regarding OOP is that in 
certain cases I might prefer a higher-level approach to tasks which 
involve dynamic memory allocation.  If I don't need the execution 
efficiency of C, then OOP might produce working results faster by not 
having to worry about the details of memory management, pointers, etc.

But I wonder if the OOP programmers spend as much time creating classes 
and trying to organize everything into the OOP paradigm as the C 
programmer spends just writing the code?

Ultimately I don't care what the *name* is for how I program.  I just 
need to produce results.  So that leads back to objectivity.  I have a 
problem to solve, and I want to find a solution that is as quick as 
possible to learn and implement.

Problem:

1.  How to most easily learn to write simple PC GUI programs that will 
send data to remote embedded devices via serial comms, and perhaps 
incorporate some basic (x,y) type graphics display and manipulation 
(simple drawing program).  Data may result from user GUI input, or from 
parsing a text config file.  Solution need not be efficient in machine 
resource utilization.  Emphasis is on quickness with which programmer 
can learn and implement solution.

2.  Must be cross-platform: Linux + Windows.  This factor can have a big 
impact on whether it is necessary to learn a new language, or stick with 
C.  If my platform was only Linux I could just learn GTK and be done 
with it.  I wouldn't be here in that case.

Possible solutions:

Form 1:  Use C and choose a library that will enable cross-platform GUI 
development.

Pro:  Don't have to learn new language.
Con:  Probably will have difficulty with cross-platform implementation 
of serial comms.  This will probably need to be done twice.  This will 
waste time.

Form 2:  Use Python and PySerial and TkInter or wxWidgets.

Pro:  Cross-platform goal will likely be achieved fully.  Have a 
programmer nearby with extensive experience who can help.
Con:  Must learn new language and library.  Must possibly learn a 
completely new way of thinking (OOP) not just a new language syntax. 
This might be difficult.

Form 3:  Use LabVIEW

Pro:  I think that the cross-platform goal can be met.
Con:  Expensive.  I would prefer to use an Open Source solution.  But 
that isn't as important as the $$$.  I have also generally found the 2D 
diagrammatical programming language of "G" as repelling as OOP.  I 
suspect that it may take as much time to learn LabVIEW as Python.  In 
that case the time spent on Python might be better spent since I would 
be learning something foundational as opposed to basically just learning 
how to negotiate someone's proprietary environment and drivers.


Comments appreciated.


-- 
Good day!

________________________________________
Christopher R. Carlen
Principal Laser&Electronics Technologist
Sandia National Laboratories CA USA
crcarleRemoveThis at BOGUSsandia.gov
NOTE, delete texts: "RemoveThis" and
"BOGUS" from email address to reply.



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