In the beginning there were punched cards. After that, computer programmers had to learn machine code. Assembly, low level structured programming languages…
Time passed and tools for visual programming arrived. More levels of abstraction. Object oriented languages, declarative programming…
When we talk about Software development, what do you think is more important: well working code or readable code?
I think the vast majority of developers thinks that readable code is desirable, but the main point is to have the code running, and running well. I have thought that way a lot of time.
But with the programming experience, through the years, you become more conscious about the importance of code readibility.
If a legacy code fails, but is well and clearly written, it is easy to fix it and maintain it. But if you have a good running system which internal code is a mess, it invariably will be early impossible to maintain and evolve. and if developers do not do the effort of refactoring it, the problem will be more and more big. You will reach the point when the effort of maintaining it and fix any minimum issue will not be compensated.
You must write code as if you were telling a story. You want than everybody understand your intent and your code must be easy to change by any programmer.
Do not only pursue good performance. Writing readable code is one of the best things that we, professional developers, must do.
I want to write about my profession and what I have learned about it in the 20 years that it has been paying my bills and putting food on the table.
My story as a developer actually started much earlier. I cannot say the exact date, because I cannot recall the exact date, but it was in the early or mid-eighties of the last century (damn, I am really old!) and probably before my tenth birthday.
I convinced my parents to buy a Schneider CPC-464, a German version of the legendary Armstrad CPC-464. I also remember that we bought it through an offer that we saw in ‘Alcampo’ supermarket, in ‘La Vaguada’ mall, Madrid. It costed 25.000 pesetas (150 euros), I believe. What I cannot remember is the exact year, or my age. Memory is strange like that.
So, there I was, with my brand new 64kb RAM memory machine with its green phosphorus monitor. I could already play video games at home! But not before spending a long time for the tapes to finish loading (the games). Continue reading