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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard mPeror's Avatar
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    Need to clear some things up about programming

    I've been programming for a while now. I'm not sure if i'm a "typical programmer" , so i need to clear some things up :

    - Does having a hard time reading other people's code degrade me as a programmer?

    - Do you learn what you need to learn? or learn everything that could be useful in the future?

    For example , if you had a book that has a chapter about generating charts and graps in PHP (like php anthology) , but you didn't really need to make charts\graphs at that time ; would you skip the chapter or learn it?

    - Do programmers work without using references? it's almost impossible for me , when working on a more complicated application , to completley rely on my memory. I always find myself checking a book i have or the PHP site for procedures , function names and function arguments.


    Yup , that's all i need to know for now. Mods , please don't move this to the education forum , it doesn't really fit there.

  2. #2
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    - Does having a hard time reading other people's code degrade me as a programmer?
    Not really. Each programmer has their own style and it takes a little bit to get used to how each person does things when trying to read what they wrote.

    - Do you learn what you need to learn? or learn everything that could be useful in the future?
    I usually learn what I need to know for the project at hand and whatever else that happens to look interesting or worth while to take a look at.

    - Do programmers work without using references? it's almost impossible for me , when working on a more complicated application , to completley rely on my memory. I always find myself checking a book i have or the PHP site for procedures , function names and function arguments.
    In a word, yes. However, over time, you get to know the syntax of certain methods you use frequently, thus don't need to use references for those certain ones. It's not like it's a test. Programming is open book, so use your resources to your advantage.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    Does having a hard time reading other people's code degrade me as a programmer?
    Happens to me all the time .... sometimes I get pissed and just re-write it instead of trying to figure out what they did.

    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    Do you learn what you need to learn? or learn everything that could be useful in the future?
    If I had more "free time" (yeah whats that!) Id learn stuff I didnt need right away but it always seems Im learning just enough to get thru what I HAVE to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    Do programmers work without using references? it's almost impossible for me , when working on a more complicated application , to completley rely on my memory. I always find myself checking a book i have or the PHP site for procedures , function names and function arguments.
    I couldnt survive without my library of books. Especially when you work in several languages like I do. I am constantly saying "what the heck was that" and having to reach for a book. An engineer I worked for years ago gave me a great tip. He said "Use your mind to work out problems and come up with new things. Dont use it to store information that is at the tip of your fingers in a book!"

    You sound fairly normal to me (for a programmer that is)

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    Non-Member coo_t2's Avatar
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    I hardly ever find PHP code in the real world that is easy for me to understand. I don't if it's because it's usually hard-to-follow spaghetti crap code(which most of the PHP code out there is) or if I just have trouble adjusting to how other people think.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard mPeror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dc dalton
    Happens to me all the time .... sometimes I get pissed and just re-write it instead of trying to figure out what they did.
    Yea this happens to me , too. Like when i'm reading this PHP book ; i don't try to understand the author's classes (becuase i won't anyway). Instead i try to understand what he's trying to do and come up with my own class.

    I'm glad i'm "normal"

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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Reading code is much harder than writing code. Reading someone else's code is much harder than reading your own code (especially if they don't comment much and you do). Also, I don't think any programmer can code everything they need to do without a reference, and if they don't use a reference of some kind they're probably recreating a lot of functionality that's already built into the language they're using.

  7. #7
    Non-Member coo_t2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    Yea this happens to me , too. Like when i'm reading this PHP book ; i don't try to understand the author's classes (becuase i won't anyway). Instead i try to understand what he's trying to do and come up with my own class.

    I'm glad i'm "normal"
    I think you are very normal in that respect. This is one of the main reasons why OOP methodologies were created. OOP, if done well, decreases the effort needed in order to understand someone elses code. You just have to know the api and how the objects work together. If the classes and methods are given good names then the code can be understood easier than English(or any other natural language).

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast LarryDallas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    - Does having a hard time reading other people's code degrade me as a programmer?
    Not really, Iíve been doing mainframe programming for over 35 years. There have been a number of times during my career that I came across convoluted program ďlogicĒ that was impossible to decipher. It an enigma how some ďprogrammersĒ can call what they do good code.

    Before you consider doing what some here suggest and rewrite program code you should first make sure that every other program youíre working with isnít written in the same style. Also be sure you have the time to reinvent the wheel. If your employer has only asked you to fix a problem he may get upset if you do any more than that. I know from first hand experience that some bosses will not care that your rewritten program is more efficient, runs faster and does a better job.

    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    - Do you learn what you need to learn? or learn everything that could be useful in the future?
    Learn well what you need for your job and become the resident expert. That will increase your job security and your paycheck. After you're the guru on something, determine where your company or your industry is going. Pick out something that interest you and that you're sure will be needed then learn the basics on it too. Donít do what I did and let technology pass you by. Plus donít learn stuff you wonít be using in the NEAR future because you're only wasting your time. Skills learned that you donít have a chance to use will soon be forgotten.

    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    - Do programmers work without using references? it's almost impossible for me , when working on a more complicated application , to completley rely on my memory. I always find myself checking a book i have or the PHP site for procedures , function names and function arguments.
    Mark Twain once said, "It is better to sit in silence and appear ignorant, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." If you arenít sure how to do something there is no shame in looking it up; it's a lot better than doing it wrong.

    Memorization is something you needed in school; itís not a requirement for real life. The only thing you need to remember is where to go to find out how to do something. If you do something often enough you will eventually not need a memory aid. Most entries in my PCís favorites list are links to reference web sites. Probably 9 out of the last 10 times I pulled a book from my library it was a reference book. Many files on my hard drive are instructional documents I have downloaded from the Internet.
    Cheers, Legacy Larry
    Doin web for fun in Mickey's Town at www.1Click4Help.com

  9. #9
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    No matter what a great programmer you are.. you will never be able to always read someone else's code...especially if they don't comment or follow good naming conventions. I love when variables are called a letter from the alphabet...and i'm not referring to thos in a for loop.

    I usually only learn what I need to, then if I have time, i'll learn something else.

    References are awesome and I think most good programmers have them. Sure, the more you do something, the les syou need it, but everyone should have a few and use them..even if it is the web.
    Sara

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard mPeror's Avatar
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    Thanks alot guys , great replies !

    one more thing , you ARE supposed to write a class\API then completley forget how you made it after a while , aren't you?

  11. #11
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mPeror
    Thanks alot guys , great replies !

    one more thing , you ARE supposed to write a class\API then completley forget how you made it after a while , aren't you?

    How you made it or what was in it??
    Sara

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Just to answer, since everyone else has.

    - Other people's code always sucks. Can take sometime to work out what the hell another programmer was thinking when you are debugging his/her code.

    - Generally learn what l need to know to get the job done, but skim everything else so l am aware of it in the future.

    - Have me handy Universe Quick Reference, vb6 in a nutshell, a couple of sitepoint books on php & css, and my learning asp reference right beside me on the desk. Helps with syntax if you are using a function or whatever which you don't commonly use. (In case anyone is wondering am the solo coder inhouse here, and need to maintain and development numerous internal and client sites using differing technologies.

    Thus far have avoided anything to do with Apple, though am doing some JS this week

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard mPeror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    How you made it or what was in it??
    It could be any class (not the basic ones though). If you make a more complicated class you'd , normally , keep using it's interface , and you might even forget how you actually made it , even after looking at the code.


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