Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm At Least a Teenager, Right?

I think I'm beyond the noob stage Steve describes. I can definitely recall writing some comments like he describes a few years ago. I don't do it now. Usually. I admit that I did for that hairy calibration code just a couple months ago, for the algorithm that was handed down by the analog EE that I was supposed to just trust with blind faith. I couldn't do it. I had to understand how it worked. I read up on flyback regulators and peppered that code with so much metadata (now that I know that's what it's called) that comments and types were spilling out at every seam. So I have to disagree with Steve's conclusion a little here. He rightly points out that using the narrative style of commenting and other kinds of metadata are ways for us to learn about what we are doing, that it's a way to solidify our thought processes. His conclusion seems to be that this is a bad thing overall and that we should strive to avoid it. Personally, I hope I'm always working on stuff that is challenging enough to require some metadata discussion with myself to get it right. I wouldn't feel like I was learning anything anymore if I didn't, and that's no fun.

To be fair, he's really not railing against what I'm talking about though. He's more against those that are into modeling to an extreme for the sake of modeling. I totally agree with his sentiments there. This is an excellent read for any programmer. I know because I agreed with what he wrote so much :-) I love how he can take these thoughts that have been sort of half-way forming at the back of my mind and express them so clearly. Or at least he makes me feel like I was on the verge of making that same brilliant conclusion. It's very flattering.

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