The Whole Enchilada

Thoughts on life, work, tech & biz and the whole enchilada

Programmer’s Support Group

Posted by wholeenchilada on November 6, 2007

Ted Neward has a great post for techies: Welcome to the Shitty Code Support Group. If you’re a programmer/developer/engineer/tester or anyone else who works with software you’ll either find the post equally interesting, or slightly amusing-yet-weird. Here’s the intro:

“Hi. My name’s Ted, and I write shitty code.”
With this opening, a group of us earlier this year opened a panel (back in March, as I recall) at the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Minneapolis. Neal Ford started the idea, whispering it to me as we sat down for the panel, and I immediately followed his opening statement in the same vein.

Poor Charles Nutter, who was new to the tour, didn’t get the whispered-down-the-line instruction, and tried valiantly to recover the panel’s apparent collective discard of dignity–“Hi, I’m Charles, and I write Ruby code”–to no avail. (He’s since stopped trying.)

The reason for our declaration of impotent implementation, of course, was, as this post states so well, a Zen-like celebration of our inadequacies: To be a Great Programmer, you must admit that you are a Terrible Programmer.

To those who count themselves as the uninitiated into our particular brand of philosophy (or religion, or just plain weirdness), the declaration is a statement of anti-Perfectionism. “I am human, therefore I make mistakes. If I make mistakes, then I cannot assume that I will write code that has no mistakes. If I cannot write code that has no mistakes, then I must assume that mistakes are rampant within the code. If mistakes are rampant within the code, then I must find them. But because I make mistakes, then I must also assume that I make mistakes trying to identify the mistakes in the code. Therefore, I will seek the best support I can find in helping me find the mistakes in my code.”

Read more here:

A very well written post that sends a great message — we’re all human. And that’s what makes this line so great “To be a Great Programmer, you must admit that you are a Terrible Programmer.” I was never a hard core developer, much more an html and script hack, but I learned enough to know that no matter how good you are at something or how long you’ve been doing it, mistakes will happen. Do check out the post – good stuff!


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