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What is Abstraction?

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Abstraction is a basic property of high level programming languages whereby programmers work with language features based on concepts rather than the realities of computing. For example, a programmer may call an API to encrypt a file with a few lines of code that pass in parameters such as the name of the file. The programmer doesn't need to know how the encryption algorithm works or the details of the instructions that occur at the machine level.
As technology progresses, programming languages tend to become higher level with extremely complex tasks specified with relatively simple APIs or user interfaces. This allows programmers to create increasingly sophisticated designs because they aren't stuck in low level details.
Overview: Abstraction
Definition (1)
Programming languages and APIs that are idealized for programmers as opposed to representative of computing realities.
Definition (2)
High level languages and APIs that hide complex details behind relatively simple concepts.
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