[GRLUG] sysadmin job opening

Michael Mol mikemol at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 10:36:32 EST 2010

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 10:01 AM, Bob Kline <bob.kline at gmail.com> wrote:
> Uhmmm,  isn't execution speed and
> coding speed the usual tradeoff with
> high level languages?  A shell script
> can get small things done in a hurry.
> No one expects it to execute fast.  Or
> should anyway.

True, to an extent, but some will perform better than others when
given the exact same instructions. Keep in mind is that different
languages have different ways to let you reach the same end
efficiently. Taking advantage of language idioms will go a long way in
making a "slow" work better.

I won't pretend to be able to back up the point with specific
examples, though. I'd have to be an expert in each language.

> Isn't it usually the case that one
> needs a compiled version of high
> level code before the speed improves?

No. Speed improvements usually occur in a few stages (in no particular order):

* Throw more/better hardware at the problem.
* Take advantage of caching in more places
* Refactor the code to meet different design requirements.
* Refactor the code because you learned how to better write to the langauge
* Change your execution environment.

There's a *lot* of gain that can be gained from those first four, and
by the time you can refactor to write to the language, your market
value probably doubled compared to when you first started writing in
that language professionally.

> As in an order of magnitude and more?
> High level languages keep people
> from having to learn things like assembly
> language and "C,"  reduce expensive
> labor costs, and exploit cheaper, faster
> hardware, but I'd of thought that it was
> clear what the price of them is.

Writing in a more expressive ("higher level") language improves labor
costs because it allows you to decrease your iteration time in

> They are relatively slow. You never get
> it all.

You never get it all with any language. It's a matter of looking at
the task at hand, and choosing the right tool for the job. Would you
write a wiki in C, much less assembler? I wouldn't even *try* it in
C++ (the language I'm most proficient in) until I had a few more years
of professional development under my belt, and I'd probably be smart
enough to know better by then.


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