How to actually write a program?

Michael Sparks zathras at
Sat Sep 4 16:32:08 CEST 2004

On Fri, 3 Sep 2004, Mike C. Fletcher wrote:
> True enlightenment lies somewhere between the extremes.  There's
> hundreds (thousands?) of books that purport to show you the
> one-true-solution to this problem.  Any time you see that you can be
> pretty sure that there is no "one" solution and that you'll have to
> experiment with the ideas expounded by the various religions and figure
> out what works *for you*.

Just like dieting, cooking and exercise books... ;-)

Personally I would say that someone who doesn't know how to program at all
would be best doing 2 things:
   * Playing with code - see what you can build from simple building
     blocks and work forward from there.
   * When you've got an idea of what you want to write, take that play and
     write some tests and work from there.

Personally I think when starting off the former of these two is much more
important - after all if you don't know how to write any code, how are you
going to write the test ? ;-) IMO the former is very important the rest of
the time as well, whatever development methodology anyone chooses.

Put another way, artists tend to have 2 kinds of picture - sketches and
proper works. (along with degrees of in-between-ness) Without the sketches
you can't really do the proper works. Without ever doing a proper work,
all you're sketches never get any better. I think you get the same sort of
thing with programming.


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