[Chicago-talk] Sharing my pain

Jim Jacobus JJacobus at PonyX.com
Mon Oct 16 08:34:09 PDT 2006

So what's so unusual about bad code? Doesn't reflect at all on the 
language, but the programmer. In my 30+ years of programming, I've 
seen a lot of bad and indecipherable code written in a lot of 
languages. I used to make a pretty good living converting legacy code 
from multiple coders over multiple years into different programming languages.

Although every language that comes along promises to be the "next big 
thing" that "auto documents" itself and reduces the number of lines 
of code and complexity. B.S. Every language is part of an 
evolutionary process that learns from the past and looks to take 
advantage of hardware and network advances. Each language brings it's 
own set of idiosyncrasies that create more complexity. For example, 
Java was one of the holy grails. However, over time, you see it is 
not as transparent and portable as originally described. It 
definitely has a place, but it's one of several solutions to address problems.

I believe good programmers can work in multiple disciplines. 
Different tools work for different problems. When you work in 
multiple languages, you develop some defensive skills. A few I have 
is to try to document as much as I can as I go along. Minimum is to 
describe what a subroutine does and say what the input and output is. 
I also don't get too cleaver with code -- don't make assumptions that 
the next coder will understand discrete variable passed.

The code example you including is a piece of crap since it doesn't 
define what it does and it doesn't use descriptive variables. Could 
have been written in any language -- including Python.

More information about the Chicago-talk mailing list