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Managed and Unmanaged, Metaphorically

Last night I was asked what the difference was between managed and unmanaged code by a non-coder.  I came up with a metaphor which works and Bill asked me to post it.

Unmanaged code is an Erector set.  Not a current one, but the old kind that has lots of stamped metal parts with sharp edges.  Anyone can build things with it, but you quickly discover the sharp edges on the pieces and get your fingers sore from working with the crummy little screwdriver and wrench.  A master builder can put all kinds of wondrous things together from it, and has little to worry about from that dreaded old AC motor (I shocked myself on that more than once).

Managed code is closer to Duplo blocks (maybe Lego bricks, but still).  You can build all kinds of fabulous things with it, it's bright and shiny and friendly, and there are lots of special-purpose pieces for you ready to go. It's also a lot harder to hurt yourself with Duplo blocks.

Published Wednesday, October 29, 2008 11:06 AM by Steve Hawley


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# Managed and Unmanaged, Metaphorically

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