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> A good article for you budding scripters, Don't be a cargo cult programmer, learn the right way!
BigEd781
post Oct 11 2009, 08:40 PM
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Here is a great article for novice programmers to read. It talks about "cargo-cult programmers", a term that has been around for some time, but usually the people who need to understand it the most do not. There are more than a few beginners around here who this applies to, and that's ok; you're learning. But if you would likke to get ahead of the curve, reading this article can help.

http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/archive/...rogrammers.aspx

Here is an excerpt:

QUOTE
During the Second World War, the Americans set up airstrips on various tiny islands in the Pacific. After the war was over and the Americans went home, the natives did a perfectly sensible thing -- they dressed themselves up as ground traffic controllers and waved those sticks around. They mistook cause and effect -- they assumed that the guys waving the sticks were the ones making the planes full of supplies appear, and that if only they could get it right, they could pull the same trick. From our perspective, we know that it's the other way around -- the guys with the sticks are there because the planes need them to land. No planes, no guys.

The cargo cultists had the unimportant surface elements right, but did not see enough of the whole picture to succeed. They understood the form but not the content. There are lots of cargo cult programmers -- programmers who understand what the code does, but not how it does it. Therefore, they cannot make meaningful changes to the program. They tend to proceed by making random changes, testing, and changing again until they manage to come up with something that works.

Beginner programmers: do not go there! Programming courses for beginners often concentrate heavily on getting the syntax right. By "syntax" I mean the actual letters and numbers that make up the program, as opposed to "semantics", which is the meaning of the program. As an analogy, "syntax" is the set of grammar and spelling rules of English, "semantics" is what the sentences mean. Now, obviously, you have to learn the syntax of the language -- unsyntactic programs simply do not run. But what they don't stress in these courses is that the syntax is the easy part. The cargo cultists had the syntax -- the formal outward appearance -- of an airstrip down cold, but they sure got the semantics wrong.


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Ceric
post Oct 14 2009, 09:45 PM
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QUOTE (BigEd781 @ Oct 11 2009, 01:40 PM) *
Here is a great article for novice programmers to read. It talks about "cargo-cult programmers", a term that has been around for some time, but usually the people who need to understand it the most do not. There are more than a few beginners around here who this applies to, and that's ok; you're learning. But if you would likke to get ahead of the curve, reading this article can help.

http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/archive/...rogrammers.aspx

Here is an excerpt:


Some of the comments on that article were pretty good. I wish RMVX had some kind of decent debugging tool that allowed you to step through the code. When you get into very long scripts/programs, it's tough to fully understand what's going on when 1-you didn't write the code yourself and 2-you're still learning how the language works.

BigEd, are there any decent books on programming that you'd recommend? For example, anything on typical design patterns or OOP that explains not only what kind of problem the code is designed to solve but also how it's doing it


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BigEd781
post Oct 14 2009, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (Ceric @ Oct 14 2009, 02:45 PM) *
BigEd, are there any decent books on programming that you'd recommend? For example, anything on typical design patterns or OOP that explains not only what kind of problem the code is designed to solve but also how it's doing it


While I have read many books, one stands out in my mind; Code Complete by Steve McConnel. It's a really great book about how to write good software in any language, but it is at least at intermediate level. To be honest, there are so many resources available for free online that you can give yourself a complete education on your own time (it's what I did, and now I am a professional engineer). Aside from that; just write a lot of code! It is hard to understand the value of some concepts (like polymorphism) without first doing it the wrong way.


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My blog - It's awesome, I assure you
QUOTE
While sloppy writing does not invariably mean sloppy thinking, we've generally found the correlation to be strong -- and we have no use for sloppy thinkers. If you can't yet write competently, learn to. - Eric Raymond

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Machina
post Jul 17 2010, 07:26 PM
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Yeah it's pretty good article and very true (I fell into that hole the first time I learned programming in python)
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Durkkk
post Dec 29 2011, 04:39 PM
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What the.. I dont understand this lmao. blink.gif
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FenixFyreX
post Dec 31 2011, 12:54 PM
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I'm on fire 24/7 >:3
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QUOTE (Durkkk @ Dec 29 2011, 10:39 AM) *
What the.. I dont understand this lmao. blink.gif


Please do not necropost.
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