|P is for Practical|
Changing timesby mr_mischief (Monsignor)
|on Jan 14, 2004 at 22:19 UTC||Need Help??|
Recently I had the pleasure of commenting on redsquirrel's node Perl Destroys Interview Question. In one of my follow-up nodes, I stumbled across an idea that had been brewing in my head for a while. I finally stated it in a way that I recognized it more as a thought than a feeling. I'm sure it's nothing that's not in a thousand software engineering texts, but I've come to the conclusion from experience.
So what is this nugget? A fairly large amount of programmer time seems to be spent reworking or redeveloping working designs to be more general. I further decided that it felt like I do this more now than I used to do so. I have wondered a few times since just what portions of time seem to be spent on different types of activities and how those values change with the experience of the programmer.
My own experience is probably not too typical a case but I'm sure it's by no means rare either.
How much of this should have been apparent to me up front, I don't know. I know much of it I should have learned from books and websites. Some of it I read several times before my experience caught up with the blurbs, anecdotes, and case studies by others. Some of it I gathered by intuition first and later had confirmed by reading or discussion.
One thing I know is that having one language which is so flexible has helped me reach all of these points. For one, the examples in almost any language are pretty easy to translate to Perl compared to translation into other languages. Different programming styles and methodologies are available in Perl, so those examples don't have to be changed from OO to procedural or other such changes in ordert to be understood and used. Closures, recursion, iteration, exceptions, and many other tools can be expressed in Perl without a bunch of extra work. Sometimes books and articles I read before learning Perl make even more sense reading them again now that I've been using Perl a few years.
Now I have to wonder not only which of these trends in my time usage are good, which are more likely experience-related versus advice-related, and which ones most programmers experience. I also have to wonder how much they have each been affected by using Perl and by being a member of the Perl community.
Christopher E. Stith