Poll: Readable languages

Eddie Corns eddie at holyrood.ed.ac.uk
Thu Jun 13 13:22:37 EDT 2002

>	'Good programming cannot be taught by preaching generalities.
>	The way to learn to program well is by seeing, over and over,
>	how real programs can be improved by the application of a few
>	principles of good practice and a little common sense.
>	Practice in critical reading leads to skills in rewriting,
>	which in turn leads to better writing.'

>If I understand the excerpt, I think it's saying that experience through
>practice from good examples makes for good programming skills.

Surely that's exactly what it's not saying for examples provide only
generalities.  The key word in the quote is 'critical' (critical: 'involving
careful judgement or judicious evaluation' from my dictionary) ie the essence
is to look at the code and see WHY certain principles will IMPROVE the

The reason why most programmers do not produce good code is because, once they
have learned *A* method for accomplishing a task they simply repeat that method
ad infinitum without reflecting on whether there might be a better way.

Even if you whack them on the head with a better method they will at best just
take that new one and use it in future without thinking.  People mostly just
don't like thinking (even smart ones sadly).

And of course there are other aspects to 'think' about to become a good
programmer.  Understanding doesn't come easily - you have to keep looking and
thinking until the day you die (OK so I've been watching too many martial arts
movies lately).

The reason why *I* don't produce good code is entirely different, honest.

(Trying very hard not to turn this into a rant about the general uselessness
of people lest I give the impression of being old and embittered! :)


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