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Becoming a Better Programmer by Pete Goodliffe

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Chapter 8. Don’t Ignore That Error!

All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.

Mark Twain

Settle yourself down for an apocryphal bedtime story. A programmer’s parable, if you will….

I was walking down the street one evening to meet some friends in a bar. We hadn’t shared a beer in some time and I was looking forward to seeing them again. In my haste, I wasn’t looking where I was going. I tripped over the edge of a curb and ended up flat on my face. Well, it serves me right for not paying attention, I guess.

It hurt my leg, but I was in a hurry to meet my friends. So I pulled myself up and carried on. As I walked further the pain was getting worse. Although I’d initially dismissed it as shock, I rapidly realised there was something wrong.

But, I hurried on to the bar regardless. I was in agony by the time I arrived. I didn’t have a great night out, because I was terribly distracted. In the morning I went to the doctor and found out I’d fractured my shinbone. Had I stopped when I felt the pain, I’d’ve prevented a lot of extra damage that I caused by walking on it. Probably the worst morning-after of my life…

Too many programmers write code like my disastrous night out.

Error? What error? It won’t be serious. Honestly. I can ignore it. This is not a winning strategy for solid code. In fact, it’s just plain laziness. (The bad sort.) No matter how unlikely you think an error is in your code, you should always check for it, and always handle it. Every time. If you ...

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