Good ways to overcomplicate your code and slow down development

Francis Nugent Dixon effendi at wanadoo.fr
Mon Sep 18 06:23:08 EDT 2006


Hi from Paris,

Getting strange messages from your computer such as :

>
>> well, am I the only one that saw:
>>
>> Keyboard not found.
>>
>> PRESS ANY KEY TO CONTINUE
>>
>> as a very subtle joke?

reminds me of the early days of PL/1 (IBM 360 in 1967)
The guy responsable for the compiler error statements was
rather behind in his work, and so the majority of the error
messages were not present. It was very frustrating to receive
the error message :

Syntax Error in statement 151 "                                         
     "

This seemed to annoy the other compiler developers, so they
replaced all the empty lines in the Syntax Error Message module
with the statement :

"So where is it then, Bobby Johnston ?"

(I'm not sure of the guys name, but it was something like that).

This was an excellent incentive. The Error Message Module
was fixed with REAL error messages in the following release !

Until this happpened though, the majority of the fledgling PL/1
programmers of the moment (including me !), were forced to read
the User Manual in great detail, and to spend hours ensuring that
their statements had no syntax errors in them. Until we were blessed
with more "English" style computer languages, we had to use elbow
grease to develop our programs. Ah ! the chewed pencil days .....

Of course, later (COBOL, etc.) , everybody began to use the computer
compiler to find the mistakes in their programs, rather than using their
brain ............ That slowed down development somewhat !

But the Computer Manager solved that problem also. Every week, he
would post a list of the programmers, and the number of times they had
put the same program in for a Compile/Run. Productivity increased !
Don Micklewright (my mentor) always said that programs were written
on a desk, eons before you approached the computer. Sound counsel.

Question - How many times do you run your program before IT WORKS ?

As an afterthought - In Revolution, as in Hypercard, I begin my programs
with an extensive comment section, Date-Version-Functions-Input-Output
-The problems-How I solve them-The limits-The pitfalls..... the works !

Then I code straight in, using my comments as a guide .. Never fails !
It also helps wonders, if I return later to update the program.

-Francis

"Nothing should ever be done for the first time !"




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