Seven Rules for Beginning Programmers

Paul Vick posted these Seven Rules for Beginning Programmers earlier this week and I have been thinking about them a lot. They make sense to me. As a professional developer you have to understand that these are the rules for beginners. The last item concludes with “You may go beyond these rules after you have…

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Wisdom in Lists–Really?

Like a lot of people I have an affection for lists that condense a lot of wisdom into a brief set of statements or items. Some time ago I wrote a series of posts on Programming Proverbs for example. That list (reproduced at the bottom of this post) came from a book that was every…

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Revisiting the GoTo Statement

In yesterday’s post I named the “GoTo” statement as basically a bad thing. To my surprise this started a short Twitter discussion and also came up in the comments. So I did a bit more research. I found this fairly balanced article called “Using gotos” by Steve McConnell. And Mark Guzdial twittered a link to…

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Programming Proverbs 26: Don’t be afraid to start over

The statement “Don’t be afraid to start over” seems obvious to the breed of programmer today who starts off assuming that they will always throw away the first several versions of their program. There is some indication that this idea of rapid prototypes followed by several revisions, starting over from scratch, produces good results in…

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Programming Proverbs 25 Consider another language

What’s that old line about if all you have is a hammer all your problems look like nails? There are some programmers who only have one programming language in their tool box. They way they look at programming problems is colored by what can be done in that language and how things are done in…

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Programming Proverbs 24: Re-read the manual

I’ve been telling students and others that “reading the manual is the shortcut” for years. I really believe it. When a program isn’t working out the way one expects re-visiting the manual is often a great short cut. Sometimes the manual in question is really the documentation for the project or the program. Often the…

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Programming Proverbs 23: When the program is correct, produce good output

This proverb is a corollary to the last post in this series. While getting the program correct and the right results is the first priority that doesn’t mean that the results can be tossed out in any old way. A programmer’s program, a program written only to be used by the person who wrote it,…

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Programming Proverbs 21: Hand-check the program before running it

Hand checking code seems to be a dying art. At least for students that is. Throw some code into the IDE and hit F5 to compile and run and then see what happens. “Ready, Fire, Aim” At the risk of sounding like the old guy reminiscing about the good old days that were not really…

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Programming Proverbs 20: Provide good documentation

 Well what in the world is good documentation? Now there is a question for the ages. Lots of programmers hate to document their work. I’ve heard more than a few programmers over the years say things like “you want documentation? Read the code. The code is self explanatory.” Ah, yeah, right. Most will agree to…

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