Archive | Design

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How to tell if you’re a bad programmer

Posted on 21 October 2011 by Demian Turner

A great read: Bad Programmers

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Programmer Competency Matrix

Posted on 30 December 2009 by Demian Turner

A very nice matrix exploring programmer aptitude.

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Introducing PHPterror: bad PHP usage exposed

Posted on 24 August 2009 by Demian Turner


A new look at how to create unit tests – using Photoshop! ┬áSense of humour required …

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10 types of programmers you’ll encounter

Posted on 16 November 2007 by Demian Turner

There is quite a funny document doing the rounds at the moment, an entertaining read with some pearls of wisdom buried under the humour.

Read it here [pdf]

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Paul Graham Interview

Posted on 03 September 2006 by Demian Turner

Good ol’ Paul Graham:

Of course you have to have a business model eventually. But experience
so far suggests that figuring out how to make money from something
popular is a lot easier than making something popular.

An interesting read in this recent interview.

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Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers

Posted on 23 August 2006 by Demian Turner

Of all the social stuff going on on the web these days, I find
to be one of the consistently most exciting. They’re always coming up
with great new ideas (although they could use a few more servers) and
the your network feature frequently turns up interesting stuff.

Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers is a recent find, well worth a read. It’s in the vein of something you’d expect to find on John Lim or Joel Spolsky‘s sites, but there are a few new tasty angles.

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Specialization is for Insects

Posted on 20 July 2006 by Demian Turner

Mike and Steve were chatting in #seagull about the ups and downs of specializing in one career skill, and this quote came out:

Heinlein – Specialization is for Insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance
accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders,
give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new
problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight
efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

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Why is programming fun?

Posted on 09 February 2006 by Demian Turner

Why is programming fun? What delights may its practioner expect as his reward?

First is the sheer joy of making things. As the child delights in his mud pie, so the
adult enjoys building things, especially things of his own design. I think this delight
must be an image of God’s delight in making things, a delight shown in the distinctness
and newness of each leaf and each snowflake.

Second is the pleasure of making things that are useful to other people. Deep within,
we want others to use our work and to find it helpful. In this respect the programming
system is not essentially different from the child’s first clay pencil holder "for
Daddy’s office."

Third is the fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking
moving parts and watching them work in subtle cycles, playing out the consequences of
principles built in from the beginning. The programmed computer has all the fascination of
the pinball machine or the jukebox mechanism, carried to the ultimate.

Fourth is the joy of always learning, which springs from the nonrepeating nature of the
task. In one way or another the problem is ever new, and its solver learns something:
sometimes practical, sometimes theoretical, and sometimes both.

Finally, there is the delight of working in such a tractable medium. The programmer,
like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles
in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are
so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand
conceptual structures. (…)

Yet the program construct, unlike the poet’s words, is real in the sense that it moves and
works, producing visible outputs separately from the construct itself. It prints results,
draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in
our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to
life, showing things that never were nor could be.

Programming then is fun because it gratifies creative longings built deep within us and
delights sensibilities we have in common with all men.

Fred Brooks, The
Mythical Man-Month

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Paul Graham on IT Conversations

Posted on 17 November 2005 by Demian Turner

Paul Graham is the author of the excellent Hackers and Painters and also has a great blog, so it wasn’t suprising his IT Conversations piece was a riot – check it out, recommended 30 mins of quality time and not while you’re coding. Thanks to Luis for the tip.

Here’s the summary:

Paul Graham, popular author and Lisp programmer,
discusses what business can learn from open source. According to him,
it’s not about Linux or Firefox, but the forces that produced them. He
delves into the reasons why open source is able to produce better
software, why traditional workplaces are actually harmful to
productivity and the reason why professionalism is overrated.

Paul takes blogging as an analogy and explains how the
phenomenon is actually very similar to the open source movement. Both
show that amateurs often surpass professionals in what they choose to
do, because they love what they are doing. He also points out that in
the age of the internet, which has made collaboration extremely easy,
large corporations find it difficult to compete with software produced
by a bunch of inspired hackers. Paul also takes a dig at workplaces as
we know them and illustrates how the most productive phase of any
company is when it is still a startup.

Update: follow up with this one, also very good.

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