MJD's Good Advice and Maxims for Programmers
From: m...@plover.com (Mark Jason Dominus) Newsgroups: comp.lang.perl.misc Subject: Good Advice and Maxims for Programmers Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 05:14:05 +0000 (UTC) Organization: Plover Systems Co. Lines: 107 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> [mailed and posted] Back in October of 2000, I posted an article here in which I said: >I consulted my File of Good Advice on this one, and it said: > >#11907 Looking for a compiler bug is the strategy of LAST resort. LAST resort. > >(No, I didn't just make this up; I really do have such a file and it >really does say that.) Peter Scott asked: >Can we see the other entries? And I replied: >I've been including them in my article headers for a while now. Sometime afterwards, I stopped including random good advice in my article headers, because some of it is rather abrasive, and I didn't want people to take it the wrong way. So here at last is my file of Good Advice. Caution: This file contains an unusually high incidence of naughty words. Stop reading now if you are offended by any of the words 'fuck', 'fucking', 'crap', 'shit', or 'asshole'. Oops, sorry.
#11900 You cannot just paste code with no understanding of what is going on and expect it to work. #11901 You can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, Retardo! #11902 You said it didn't work, but you didn't say what it would have done if it *had* worked. #11903 What are you really trying to accomplish here? #11904 Who the fuck cares which one is faster? #11905 Now is the time in our program where you look at the manual. #11906 Look at the error message! Look at the error message! #11907 Looking for a compiler bug is the strategy of LAST resort. LAST resort. #11908 Premature optimization is the root of all evil. #11909 Bad programmer! No cookie! #11910 I see you omitted $! from the error message. It won't tell you what went wrong if you don't ask it to. #11911 You wrote the same thing twice here. The cardinal rule of programming is that you never ever write the same thing twice. #11912 Evidently it's important to you to get the wrong answer as quickly as possible. #11913 Gee, I don't know. I wonder what the manual says about that? #11914 Well, no duh. That's because you ignored the error message, dimwit. #11915 Only Sherlock Holmes can debug the program by pure deduction from the output. You are not Sherlock Holmes. Run the fucking debugger already. #11916 Always ignore the second error message unless the meaning is obvious. #11917 Read. Learn. Evolve. #11918 Well, then get one that *does* do auto-indent. You can't do good work with bad tools. #11919 No. You must believe the ERROR MESSAGE. You MUST believe the error message. #11920 The error message is the Truth. The error message is God. #11921 It could be anything. Too bad you didn't bother to diagnose the error, huh? #11922 You don't suppress error messages, you dumbass, you PAY ATTENTION and try to understand them. #11923 Never catch a signal except as a last resort. #11924 Well, if you don't know what it does, why did you put it in your program? #11925 Gosh, that wasn't very bright, was it? #11926 That's like taking a crap on someone's doorstep and then ringing the doorbell to ask for toilet paper. #11927 A good approach to that problem would be to hire a computer programmer. #11928 First get a book on programming. Then read it. Then write the program. #11929 First ask yourself `How would I do this without a computer?' Then have the computer do it the same way. #11930 Would you like to see my rate card? #11931 I think you are asking the wrong question here. #11932 Holy cow. #11933 Because it's a syntax error. #11934 Because this is Perl, not C. #11935 Because this is Perl, not Lisp. #11936 Because that's the way it is. #11937 Because. #11938 If you have `some weird error', the problem is probably with your frobnitzer. #11939 Because the computer cannot read your mind. Guess what? I cannot read your mind *either*. #11940 You said `It doesn't work'. The next violation will be punished by death. #11941 Of course it doesn't work! That's because you don't know what you are doing! #11942 Sure, but you have to have some understanding also. #11943 Ah yes, and you are the first person to have noticed this bug since 1987. Sure. #11944 Yes, that's what it's supposed to do when you say that. #11945 Well, what did you expect? #11946 Perhaps you have forgotten that this is an engineering discipline, not some sort of black magic. #11947 You know, this sort of thing is amenable to experimental observation. #11948 Perhaps your veeblefitzer is clogged. #11949 What happens when you try? #11950 Now you are just being superstitious. #11951 Your question has exceeded the system limit for pronouns in a single sentence. Please dereference and try again. #11952 In my experience that is a bad strategy, because the people who ask such questions are the ones who paste the answer into their program without understanding it and then complain that it `does not work'. #11953 Of course, this is a heuristic, which is a fancy way of saying that it doesn't work. #11954 If your function is written correctly, it will handle an empty array the same way as a nonempty array. #11955 When in doubt, use brute force. #11956 Well, it might be more intuitive that way, but it would also be useless. #11957 Show the code. #11958 The bug is in you, not in Perl. #11959 Cargo-cult. #11960 So you threw in some random punctuation for no particular reason, and then you didn't get the result you expected. Hmmmm. #11961 How should I know what is wrong when I haven't even seen the code? I am not clairvoyant. #11962 How should I know how to do what you want when you didn't say what you wanted to do? #11963 It's easy to get the *wrong* answer in O(1) time. #11964 I guess this just goes to show that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it. #11999 You are a stupid asshole. Shut the fuck up.
Maybe sometime later I will post annotations for the more cryptic ones explaining their intended application. For example, it may not be obvious that you use #11943 when a person appears in the newsgroup with the complaint that the Perl 'if' statement does not work.
-- Mark Jason Dominus m...@plover.com
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