in reply to Greatest programming mistakes and what to learn from
- Human error creeps into the simplest tasks. Always test
everything. Learned when a division sales manager handed my boss a stack of reports with math errors on a business trip. I'd been in a hurry to finish them, it was 3am when I finished them, and I thought they were too simple for me to make a mistake on. I was wrong.
- Backup before you work. You will eventually trash something important. If it's backed up, you won't feel the pain. Learned one night when I dropped a table before I unloaded it.
- Never try to outguess the customer. Ask questions. Show them work in progress. Make sure your delivering what they want. Learned when my deliverable did not deliver.
- Document while you work. I know that people have differing opinions on the value of comments and documentation. I have had to re-visit documented 5 year old code and undocumented 5 year old code. The documented code was easier to work with. Do it now. You probably won't have time to document it later.
- Keep an open mind. In 2000, I bought a copy of Learning Perl. A colleague of mine saw it on my desk and asked me, "Why do want to learn that? It's a dead language!" I don't think he's in the industry anymore.