[Tutor] Shelve del not reducing file size

Eric Brunson brunson at brunson.com
Fri Jul 27 18:33:33 CEST 2007

Barton David wrote:
> *Eric Brunson* wrote:
> > It seems like new programmers today expect to be spoonfed their
> > information like they were in grammar school.  They don't know what it
> > is to hack a Makefile to get a package to compile or break out an 
> RFC to
> > understand a protocol.  If you don't understand something and the
> > documentation is lacking, then strap on a pair and read the source,
> > write some test cases, dig a little.  In our environment most of the
> > code you'd have to read is just more Python, anyway.
> >
> > Just me being a grouchy old programmer.  In my day we had to program in
> > 4 feet of snow, uphill... both ways!
> heh. Well give me some credit. I taught myself to program, from 
> scratch, without access to (or time for) any courses whatsoever, while 
> doing a PhD in genetics. I've been using it for about 5 years now and 
> I know the core language and certain standard modules pretty well. I 
> doubt I would have got as far as I have if Python wasn't so 
> newbie-friendly. My only complaint is that I'm starting to feel like I 
> won't get much further than that without a computer science degree.

I'll disagree with you on that, if you can get a PhD in genetics then 
programming should be a snap... with the right attitude.  My BS was in 
Applied Mathematics and I've never taken a formal programming class 
since 11th grade high school.  But, I've been doing it for about 20 
years and there comes a point when you realize that you've read all the 
tutorials you can, internalized all the documentation that has been 
written and you *are* actually the smartest person in the room.  At that 
point you have to look other places for your documentation, like the 
source code or the RFCs.

I keep mentioning RFCs because I answer a lot of questions about using 
this to send mail or that to talk to an HTTP server or another thing to 
pull a file off FTP.  Most of python's protocol libraries are a very 
thin layer over the top of the actual network protocol, so in order to 
use any but the most common operations, you have to understand the 
underlying protocol.  So, what do you do?  Read the RFC for SMTP?  Or 
complain that there's not a single function call that allows you to 
automatically connect to a non-WKS port to send uuencoded emails using 
custom headers?

You seem like a smart guy that's having a bad day, so I'm cutting you 
slack.  You'll get to a point in programming where the only thing left 
before you is the epi-genome and I've got news for you, there's no 
documentation on the dark matter.  Personally, I seldom use the low 
level interfaces provided by the standard libraries except to write high 
level wrapper functions that meet the needs of my environment and the 
task at hand.

So, keep your chin up, you're not alone.  :-)

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