Friday, November 18, 2016

Truth and Fiction in Programming Memes

I ran into a couple of images with messages about programming today. One I think is useful. The other I think is the opposite of useful. The first one is cute.

safe_imageI see this all of the time with my students. Either they write some code without understanding it of the IDE creates some very important code for them. Either way they don’t quite understand what it does. They find it confusing. So they delete it. What could go wrong? Quite a bit it turns out.

This happens to more experienced programmers as well. Hopefully not as often. The lesson is that you really do want to understand code before you modify or delete it. Hint: Comments can help here. If other people are ever remotely likely to look at the code (or if you are remotely likely to ever look at the code again) having good comments can help prevent the deletion of important code by contributing to its understanding.

The other one I found annoying. sleepyFor one thing it perpetuates the stereotype that programming requires long hours, little sleep, and not much of a life. Not helpful. But it gets worse. Programming with insufficient sleep can result in serious mistakes, bad code, and problems for a lot of people.

I’ll never forget a developer I worked with many years ago. He insisted that he could (and had to) work very long hours on very little sleep. When asked about “diminishing returns” he replied that was not a problem for him. Then one morning we came in to work to find out that he had accidently erased our main development store. The backup was also not as current as it should have been. We lost a week’s worth of work for several people. Ouch!

No, if you are sleepy it means someone has messed up. Someone has not planned the work properly, done work properly, or set unreasonable deadlines. Or something else but still something is going wrong not right if the programmers are tired. Proper planning can avoid a lot of missed sleep. So many people seem to skip that step though. Go figure.

1 comment:

Lenera L. said...

OMG this post is so funny. The times that I've deleted code on my site as (a pseudo-coder when I want to do small edits) have cost me money and time-had to learn the hard way I guess. Now I just pay my techie guy-worth the money. Great post.