50 Shades of Code

Is there Joy In Inflicting Pain?

Have you ever noticed how when people bare their soul in a coding forum with a plea for help they often get slapped? It never fails, as I read through programming forums or help groups, that I will run across a post where someone was verbally beaten up for asking a question. Sometimes it is because the answer seems obvious so the assumption is no research was attempted before posting. More often though it is because other users of the forum feel they have a better way to code the function or the part of the code in question .

Some people are unwilling to accept any coding that falls outside of the realm of what they feel is acceptable. When they see code that doesn't conform to their concept of what is right they react like a school teacher pounding the palm of a student with a ruler. Without first thinking that code is an art and art can be expressed and delivered in a multitude of ways. Sure, code should be written to work within the framework of the master language used to code it. It should execute without flaws and behave as a willing slave to the operating environment but code should only find itself restrained when it is willing and not because others feel it should be.


Give me any programming task or project and I'll show you 50 ways to program it. First consider that there are thousands of programming languages. Accept that each language has hundreds of variants and hundreds of libraries and countless syntax structures. It doesn't take long to understand that there are just as many differing opinions on the best language, the best library, and the most appropriate syntax structure.

When I run across these threads it confirms my belief that most programmers are control fanatics and will help only if they can have complete control over the solution. Commanding control of the situation is, I believe, a trait of most programmers. Being able to dominate code and meld the varying parts of a program into a cohesive flow demand this type of attitude. Being able to deeply understand the code flow is necessary to uncover those areas that need fixing, designed, or modified.

As programmers we need to understand that, in most cases, the question is not far from the query but will almost always not be what is asked. Also, instead of wanting to take complete control of the coding solution, try to stay close to the code already used. While it might seem easier to completely redo the code, concentrate on the parts of the code revealed in the question. You will almost never understand the primary purpose of the code sequence and the application of that code. No matter how obvious the answer may seem, sympathize with the fact that it takes a lot for a true programmer to ask for help.

Your Way Is Not The Only Way

The truth is there are many ways to code and arguments for the best way to code a loop or to code a (for each). If you can accept that coding is an art then you must admit that every artist is different and every art piece or coding flow is a work unto itself . Your way may be better but it is your technique and there is room for other styles of coding. When one has a love and passion for programming they may seek advice from time to time but that doesn't mean they want to completely change what they have come to love. A programmer's desire to program and code depends on their particular coding experiences and it developed with a tremendous amount of time and effort.

We all should try new things and broaden our perception of coding but we will never leave those core tenets that have been with us and we should not force others to so either.

by Jim Atkins 'thedosmann'

Memphis Web Programming

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