7 Replies - 1892 Views - Last Post: 28 February 2010 - 09:15 PM

#1 Ace26  Icon User is offline

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Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:04 AM

Recently, I was invovled in an argument with some of my colleagues on some programming best practices and one of such points that came up (and lingered) was that the continual use of referral materials (like textbooks) by programmers while programming suggested weak mastery of the art.

Now I always have a copy of Judith Bishop's C# 3.0 Design Patterns (and some other referrals) handy while I program. And I ask you is that lame or game?

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Replies To: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

#2 aceofspades686  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:34 AM

Everyone can't remember everything that they've learned to do in every language. Keeping reference material close by is typically a very smart idea. I still keep a HTML cheat sheet handy on the off chance that I need it, and I've been working with HTML for about 11 or 12 years now.

That being said, if you're using the same language day in and day out, and just basically copying code directly from a book over and over, that does suggest that you don't really have a clue what you're doing. I've watched far too many people that I've tutored in the past sit down and copy the code from their book and just barely changing it to do the homework, then when they get to the test they're not able to code anything because they don't have that book handy.

The short of it, its fine to forget something and have to glance back once in awhile so long as you're not completely reliant on your resource material to accomplish your work.

This post has been edited by aceofspades686: 26 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

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#3 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:59 PM

I mostely code from memory, though I find myself doublechecking the api and my Java book from time to time.
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#4 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 27 February 2010 - 04:07 AM

The only thing I'll have handy if I'm coding is a handful of code files that I wrote in the past. mostly this lets me browse through and double-check syntax for various things, but I don't think it'd be useful for anybody else, there aren't any comments about what's what and how stuff works. mostly it's not great code either, just a handy memory tool.
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#5 Ace26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 27 February 2010 - 05:53 AM

View Postaceofspades686, on 26 February 2010 - 06:34 AM, said:

That being said, if you're using the same language day in and day out, and just basically copying code directly from a book over and over, that does suggest that you don't really have a clue what you're doing. I've watched far too many people that I've tutored in the past sit down and copy the code from their book and just barely changing it to do the homework, then when they get to the test they're not able to code anything because they don't have that book handy.


Now, that is lame! Only an unserious programmer (and person) will make a habit out of that after constantly using a language on a regular basis.
Like I said, it is meant to be a reference material and not a copy material! A good programmer should be able to work intuitively with a language he/she has been a exposed to for a while (like neotifa)but then certain problems might draw us back to certain things we have forgotten or even require more intricate research.

GoodProgrammer _programmer;
Programmer neoTifa;

if(neoTifa.ProgrammingHabit==_programmer.CodesFromMemory)
_programmer=neoTifa;


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#6 Ferencn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 27 February 2010 - 07:18 AM

Without a good command of a language, you cannot program efficiently.
But in these modern times you also need, besides your programming language of choice, a lot of knowledge about the OS or framework/platform you are programming against.
It is almost impossible to learn and remember everything, since those get bigger and complexer all the time.
So a developer/programmer is better off knowing what is available and where to find information about it, than spending a lot of hours memorizing features and documentation he or she may never actually use.
So using reference material, online documentation and your own code as 'memory' is not a 'bad' thing.
It frees your mind's resources for the more difficult part: writing great code.

This post has been edited by Ferencn: 27 February 2010 - 07:20 AM

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#7 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 27 February 2010 - 08:59 AM

I don't own any dead tree programming-related books. When I'm writing something, I always keep API documentation and a book (if available) on the language I'm using open on another (virtual) desktop.
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#8 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming with material aids handy (like textbooks e.t.c), LAME or G

Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:15 PM

Quote

Recently, I was invovled in an argument with some of my colleagues on some programming best practices and one of such points that came up (and lingered) was that the continual use of referral materials (like textbooks) by programmers while programming suggested weak mastery of the art.


So, reading this, I can agree with your colleagues to some extent.

Until...

Quote

Now I always have a copy of Judith Bishop's C# 3.0 Design Patterns (and some other referrals) handy while I program. And I ask you is that lame or game?


This changes the argument. With the patterns, it's good to know the popular ones inside and out. If you don't, a nearby book is definitely worth it and perfectly acceptable. Realistically, the best thing to do with patterns is to know the name of it, its general concept, and when to use it. When you decide that a pattern makes sense to implement, then it should probably be researched a little before just diving in. With your book, you're already set to research (however, that book is kind of crappy. She makes a lot of mistakes in the source code. Especially the decorator section).

For those out there without a book, this is a great site: http://www.dofactory.com/Default.aspx

Have fun. Oh and also with patterns, it's a really good idea to pick a couple and implement them on a few side projects. These kind of projects would just be little test beds. Just try to wedge a pattern that doesn't make complete sense to use or doesn't seem like it will fit in really easily. You will get an idea of patterns' shortcomings and difficulties this way. The biggest benefit though is that you will obtain the safe cracker's touch about patterns. You know when to implement them and when not to.

As for me, I still have a lot of work to go in that regard. I certainly overuse them but I know that if I just keep going with them and get it out of my system, what will be left will give me enough experience to be calculated about them and no longer overuse them. I think everyone should shoot for this because honestly, patterns are amazing.

EDIT: I know I said this:

Quote

however, that book is kind of crappy. She makes a lot of mistakes in the source code. Especially the decorator section


OK. So I don't really mean it. It's not really a bad book. It just has enough inaccuracies to lead me to believe that they don't have a competent peer editor.

It's a decent book though.

This post has been edited by MentalFloss: 28 February 2010 - 09:18 PM

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