[Tutor] Modifying Source Code while Program is Running

Danny Yoo dyoo at hkn.eecs.berkeley.edu
Sun Nov 27 00:24:07 CET 2005

> I had the misfortune a couple of days ago of having to knock up a couple
> of web pages in ASP.  A very basic search form, results page and details
> page.  I had to open up a connection to the database, open a recordset,
> concatenate a strings to make an SQL query, etc, etc.
> It was horrible.  I copied and pasted a lot of the code, but even so it
> involved doing ridiculous amounts of unnecessary work.

Hi Ed,

I don't know how well ASP supports abstraction, but copying and pasting is
usually the wrong solution: that's exactly where we should be thinking
about writing functions and organizing those functions in libraries.

If a block of code is being copied around, that unit of work captures some
concept we have, and functions are a good way to formally capture that
concept as an abstraction.  We can --- and often must! --- lift ourselves
up by using abstractions, or risk drowning in the tedious details.

Guy Lewis Steele Jr. wrote a hilarious talk about this in "Growing a


> > Basically I just wonder what your background is that you seem to
> > expect these kind of dynamic facilities? I'd certainly be interested
> > in investigating it further.
> Maybe it's just knowing what'll be possible in 10 years time and being
> impatient for it.

If we're chasing for a "silver bullet" in programming languages, we might
wait for a very long time indeed.  *grin*

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