ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context :OnAbstraction

I'm interested in abstraction and, in design and the building of systems, how we move from concrete to abstract.

In DoesAbstractionScale I wondered if we expected to keep things abstract even at a grand scale.

In UsersFindAbstractionHard I thought about how users find abstraction difficult.

A lot of this is made explicit in a discussion with AdrianHoward in AnEasyInterface where I say that interfaces need to support the growth of a user's expertise and abstraction to higher level thinking.

I praise wiki's CategoryCategory convention for being a bottom-up method of abstraction. And generally praise wiki's extremely fluid mix of concrete text and abstract / higher level control functions. (OnWiki, WikiAsUltimateUserConfigurableApplication)

Concrete to Abstract for document creation

The old SpreadSheet $ notation which allowed you to turn an absolute address into a relative one is an interesting case of generalization.

It's the other way round! Absolute cell refs are preceded by a $ so they don't change when the formula is copied elsewhere on the sheet. So in this context "generalisation" is the default mode, as many naive developers have been surprised to discover.

OK, thanks. I misremembered. – PhilJones

SmallTalk had a great feature which remembered the last manual text replacement you made, and let you repeat it. I wonder if any editors continue with this?

Adobe's Thermo seemed to help designers generalize multi-layer mockup drawings to actual user interfaces. Seems to have been memory holed on the internet. Only finding

Is there a difference between grown or incrementally arrived at abstractions like this and those designed as abstractions in the first case?

See also :

Compare TypingNotCategorizing