[Tutor] [OT] Best Practices for Scientific Computing

Patti Scott pscott_74 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 30 00:50:55 CET 2014

Could someone clarify "Modularize code rather than copying and pasting?"

On Fri, 11/14/14, Albert-Jan Roskam <fomcl at yahoo.com.dmarc.invalid> wrote:

 Subject: [Tutor] [OT] Best Practices for Scientific Computing
 To: "Python Mailing List" <tutor at python.org>
 Date: Friday, November 14, 2014, 12:19 PM
 I thought this might be worth sharing, especially on a
 windy, rainy Friday evnening: http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001745
 Here are the best practices mentioned in the article:
 Write programs for people, not computers.
 A program should not require its readers to hold more than a
 handful of facts in memory at once.
 Make names consistent, distinctive, and meaningful.
 Make code style and formatting consistent.
 Let the computer do the work.
 Make the computer repeat tasks.
 Save recent commands in a file for re-use.
 Use a build tool to automate workflows.
 Make incremental changes.
 Work in small steps with frequent feedback and course
 Use a version control system.
 Put everything that has been created manually in version
 Don't repeat yourself (or others).
 Every piece of data must have a single authoritative
 representation in the system.
 Modularize code rather than copying and pasting.
 Re-use code instead of rewriting it.
 Plan for mistakes.
 Add assertions to programs to check their operation.
 Use an off-the-shelf unit testing library.
 Turn bugs into test cases.
 Use a symbolic debugger.
 Optimize software only after it works correctly.
 Use a profiler to identify bottlenecks.
 Write code in the highest-level language possible.
 Document design and purpose, not mechanics.
 Document interfaces and reasons, not implementations.
 Refactor code in preference to explaining how it works.
 Embed the documentation for a piece of software in that
 Use pre-merge code reviews.
 Use pair programming when bringing someone new up to speed
 and when tackling particularly tricky problems.
 Use an issue tracking tool.
 Have a great weekend!
 All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine,
 education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a 
 fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans
 ever done for us?
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