Light Table - Embracing Abstraction

25 Sep 2012 - Chris Granger

Yesterday I gave a talk at Strange Loop about Light Table, in which I stressed the idea that we are not the “recipe writers” we used to describe ourselves as - that instead we are “abstractioners”. We aren’t writing down the steps that the computer needs to follow to make something happen, but instead we’re consuming and subsequently creating new abstractions. If you look at the past 10 years we went from writing everything from scratch to using frameworks for virtually every aspect of our programs. That is a big jump - it means that we have to know far more than just the basic constructs of the language and things like IO. We have a whole new set of layers to understand that span multiple levels of abstraction. As such, we need tools that help us consume and understand the things we’re building on top of, while simultaneously showing us how the new abstractions we’re creating fit into that landscape.

During my talk I showed some of the latest stuff in Light Table, namely the parts that embrace this notion that the fundamental unit of our work is abstraction. One of the things we want to enable is being able to manipulate the environment directly and quickly in meaningful ways. While not quite ready to release yet, I wanted to show what this looks like and give you a taste of what you can really do when you have complete freedom in shaping your tools. So, here’s a video of what I showed: