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7 Programming Myths

snydeq (1272828) writes | more than 2 years ago

Programming 1

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Neil McAllister offers up seven myths of modern programming practices, noting that while programming tools have gotten sharper, software development remains rife with misconceptions on productivity, code efficiency, offshoring, and more. 'Even among people as logical and rational as software developers, you should never underestimate the power of myth. Some programmers will believe what they choose to believe against all better judgment,' McAllister wrties. 'The real shame is that, in many cases, our elders pointed out our errors years ago, if only we would pay attention. Here are just a few examples of modern-day programming myths, many of which are actually new takes on age-old fallacies.'"
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Wrong on a few points. (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39774713)

They don't think "Great programmers write the fastest code". Good programmers do tend to produce faster code, not usually by optimizing and instruction shaving (which they rail against) but by writing algorithms with lower asymptotic bounds. Many applications have performance concerns, and understanding algorithm performance (and how to improve it) is something I'd expect from a good programmer. Obviously it's a mistake to attempt certain kinds of optimization, but "fastest code" is often a legitimate target - and good programmers will tend towards writing much faster code than bad programmers.

They don't think that "Good code is 'simple' or 'elegant'", and then they complain about "clever" code that developers have to puzzle over to understand. That doesn't sound like simple or elegant code to me. Yes, if you redefine "simple" as "shortest" I suppose I agree with them - but that's just not what simple means. There are many times when a problem has a simple solution and a complex one. It's usually right to pick the simple one. Sure it's possible to have code that's too clever, just as it's possible (and more usual) to have code that's not clever enough, but that's a separate issue. Simple and elegant are both usually good things to aim for.

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