How Large a Suitcase Do You Need for your Programming Variables? - Montana Webmaster

How Large a Suitcase Do You Need for your Programming Variables?

Planning Bags and Suitcases for a Multi-Stage Trip

In planning a trip from Montana -> Phoenix -> Albuquerque -> Montana, I not only have to plan what to take with me, I have to plan for bags to carry what I take with me. If the contents were only clothes, sundries and a computer, the volume would be fairly constant throughout this multi-stage trip.

But, the contents will be clothes, sundries, a computer, and gifts for friends and family in Phoenix and Albuquerque. For the last stage, the contents will be clothes, sundries, a computer, gifts for friends and family in Montana, green chilies and other undetermined items to write about in social media. In fact, more than once, I have had to purchase larger bags for the trip home. Overall, that means that the amount of bag space I need is both changing and unknown; so I need to plan for the carrying space to change.

To complicate matters, I will probably be flying for the first two legs of the trip and camping on the third. The space needed with the camper is much larger than the space for air travel. Good thing, because I will most likely have more contents at the end of the trip than at the beginning.

What Do Programming Variables and Functions Have to Do with Luggage?

Throughout the running (run time) of any program, there is data to store and to use. That data is stored in the computer’s memory. The functions (instructions) have to be stored in memory too. When a program loads on a device, it gets a certain amount of memory space, like the number of pounds and pieces of luggage you get on an flight. When the memory of a computer is close to full, it has to use some hard drive space for storage, like the airline making you put your carry-on in checked luggage because their isn’t enough room in the overhead bins in the cabin.

Not only does the stuff have to go into the suitcase, it is helpful to have it in some sort of order that makes it easy to find. And, the suitcase itself takes up part of the amount of space you have.

And, it’s not just your bags, all together, the airplane itself only has so much space. And, your computer only has so much space.

Deciding What to Ship and What to Carry

A family member is moving, and they don’t want to use a U-Haul, so they are shipping some of their goods to their new location. When considering computer resources, there is a similar situation. Should all the storage and processing be done on a server (remote) or should it all be done on the client’s  computer or network (remote)? In the case of a mobile device, it is often best to do part of the work on the server. But, a programmer doesn’t know what the capability of the device used as final storage will be.

The choice of technologies and languages are tied into the decision of what to do on a remote server and what to do locally. For example, JavaScript can generally run on a viewer’s computer, but PHP can’t. On the other hand, JavaScript running on a viewer’s computer can’t send data to a database, but PHP is on the server and can. If you hear discussion about a stack or layers, it is a discussion of what processing is done where.

Items being shipped are not on hand during travel. It takes some consideration of what the immediate needs will be during travel. Similarly, data from last year, may not need to be as readily available as data from last week.


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