Programming methodology (Re: Comments on book review)

Dick Dunn rcd at opus.UUCP
Thu May 3 18:47:16 AEST 1984

>Fine.  Incremental programming can be a wonderful thing.  I think, though,
>that you're missing the point of the book and that is that you don't start
>putting code into your computer until you know *exactly* what that code
>is going to do...

No, I don't think he was missing the point.  I often start coding a program
as I am evolving what it will do and how it will do it.  Now, I can say
that I've got a lot of experience and a novice shouldn't try this - fine.
But there are a lot of things novices shouldn't try.  There really isn't
anything wrong with composing at the terminal.  After all, a programming
language is only a notational system, just like natural language,
flowcharts, or whatever else.  Moreover, a programming language is well
suited to expressing solutions to programming problems (how 'bout that?!)
I suspect that errors from "coding too soon" are related to other factors:
	insufficient familiarity with the language.  If you say something,
		you ought to know what you said.
	attention to detail too early.  If you buy into using the language
		early on, you're doing a fair bit of work, so don't try to
		solve the whole problem in all its glory on the first shot.
	fixing and tuning too soon.  Don't try to tune it up until it
		works; that's just going to give irrelevant detail.  Don't
		worry about all the little error conditions (but leave
		notes for yourself on what isn't handled yet).
Personally, I'd rather debug a program than a spec.
...Relax...don't worry...have a homebrew.		Dick Dunn
{hao,ucbvax,allegra}!nbires!rcd				(303) 444-5710 x3086

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