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The Programmer's Dilemma

I've been trying to come up with excuses why I can't come up with "examples" or "code improvements" for the ASP.NET community or more importantly: "What do I bring to the table?"

I've been watching a lot of the conversations on the ALT.NET/CLI group and it actually makes me feel worse as a programmer.  We're a "young" group and people are trying to tell each other to do our jobs.  What really is the best way to approach coding?  What makes you a good programmer? (I posed this question earlier on Twitter).

I've tried to think of real world examples of code that I've used that has been a "fore-runner" in the community, but I've run into a roadblock every time.  I write new code every day, but it seems so old and archaic to me.  Is that silly?

Most of the code that I write involves the controls that I use in my application, and nothing to do with the code to retrieve data or work in the DAL.

What does this have to do with current events in the .NET community?  Pretty much EVERYTHING!

If you haven't been following, there have been multiple conversations on Yahoo's message boards about HOW you program.  People have left message boards because of their stance. It amazes me that people's opinions about computer science can steer a career in a different direction.  Being on the outside, looking in, I see that it's mostly an attack on how someone's approach on a problem is being criticized, not the end result.

Take Frans Bouma for example. he has "exposed"(and not in a bad way) his view on programming and how it should be approached in different forums and been shot down in the most heinous way.  He was only stating the real world examples on what he has worked on and the "ALT.NET" community took a crap on him. 

I don't think he was treated fairly.  He gave his opinion, people shot it down, and now, because of his opinion, he's anti-"ALT.NET".  That was hardly his point.  He simply wanted to give a point of vie that didn't apply to the "ideal" situation.  I agree with his stance since not every every programming situation calls for TDD and interfaces and mocks.  I have been in plenty of different situations where I don't have time to build the interface, DAL, BLL and tests in time for it to ship to the customer. 

In these situations, you have to feel comfortable that what you have built is what the customer wanted in the first place and not about how you feel how you programmed.

Which brings me back to my original question on Twitter:  "What makes you a good programmer?"

Posted 01-13-2008 2:13 AM by Stephen Wright



Latish Sehgal wrote re: The Programmer's Dilemma
on 01-13-2008 4:30 PM

Hi Stephen,

I know exactly what you are talking about. We programmers often let our ego drive our decisions and TRY to come up with really elegant solutions, even though our first priority should be solving the client's problem.


Joe wrote re: The Programmer's Dilemma
on 01-14-2008 8:13 AM

A good programmer is someone who gets the job done and meets/exceeds the customer's expectations.  Everything beyond this is just cake.  

Sean Chambers wrote re: The Programmer's Dilemma
on 02-03-2008 10:54 PM

Very good points Steve.

In response to your question, I may have to do a blog post to communicate fully what makes me a good programmer but in short I would say this:

A good programmer constantly strives for better ways to do things. They look at code they just wrote themselves and think about how they can be better. It is a constant drive for more knowledge, effeciency and communication. A lot of things in different contexts go into determining what makes a good programmer.

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