Archive for October 2009

Roads Not Taken #1

October 29, 2009

“But it’s worth at least thinking about the possibility of a dollar bust. The reason the housing bust had such devastating consequences was a failure of imagination: Lenders, regulators, credit raters, and others simply couldn’t believe that house prices would ever fall the way they did, so they were blindsided. ” — Business Week

This quote talks about the need to contemplate what the U.S. might do if the dollar went bust; the idea is that it is so far fetched no one thinks about, so if happened the damage would be doubly extreme because of the massive lack of preparation. The quote cites the housing bust as falling into this category, precisely because no one in the industry even entertained the notion.

This intrigues me, because I think we miss the value of Roads Not Taken everyday.

Stop Commenting Your Code – You’re Just Confusing Things!

October 25, 2009

In my post on reading other people’s code, I mentioned my views on the pointlessness of comments in code. It seemed worthwhile to expand on this, since I got such a wide variety of responses.

And yes, in the main I am going to suggest you don’t bother commenting most of your code. Unfortunately for the lazy among us, there something else you should use to replace those comments … but we’ll get to that later.

How to Read Other People’s Code — and Why

October 23, 2009

If you are a professional software developer, or aspire to be one, you will need to know a lot of of things. Various maths, stats, languages, frameworks, methodologies, tools, etc. Fads and buzzwords will come and go, all during your career. You’ll master some, ignore some, laugh at some.

But aside from the desire and ability to work in abstracts for concrete results, there is one skill that is an absolute must-have.


What Mother never told you about SVN Branching and Merging

October 19, 2009

Developers are fond of recounting their disastrous experiences branching and merging in Subversion and CVS.

Yet, thousands upon thousands of teams use SVN. Are they just not branching? What’s going on?

When a Book Makes You Jump for Joy!

October 11, 2009

When Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s Fledgling was published, I was ridiculously happy.

Is Software Handmade?

October 6, 2009

My last post stirred up a lot of interesting feedback; some folks thought calling yourself a Software Artisan was pretentious (which is true, used in general conversation), some people thought it was a reasonable term, and some thought of other even more pretentious terms (My favorite: Software Auteur. It would be an amusing world where you could break the ice telling someone you were a Software Auteur.)

And some folks denied that software is handmade at all.

Don’t be a Coder, Engineer, or Developer: be a Software Artisan!

October 3, 2009

Update: Check out my followup post on whether or not software is handmade.

What is your job description? What do call yourself, or tell people you do?

There’s nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around with computers.

My apologies to Kenneth Grahame.