O'Reilly logo

Becoming a Better Programmer by Pete Goodliffe

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 17. Use Your Brain

“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”

“And he has Brain.”

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”

There was a long silence. “I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”

A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh

“Use your brain” is not a derogatory injunctive to slipshod colleagues. Rather, it is a core principle for the conscientious coder. It is the second of my team’s hand-picked rules for guru programming. It has a number of important applications to our daily coding regimen.

Don’t Be Stupid

We’ve mentioned the KISS rule already: keep it simple, stupid. Here we take it one step further: don’t be stupid. It sounds like obvious advice, but we programmers need repeated reminders.

It’s incredible how dumb hyperintelligent people can be. Some utter geniuses suffer a chronic medical bypass of the common sense gland. Code that ninjas trip over because of their myopic vision; they miss the blindingly obvious right in front of them. Awesome architects walk into walls because their heads are stuck in the clouds.

Stereotypical geek stuff.

The desire to write an exciting new algorithm or craft a cunning data structure can consume us, obscuring the observation that a simple array will suffice. In the rush to get a release out, it’s easy to dash out reams of substandard code; the pressure tempts us to think less carefully. We write stupid code.

The coding experts do this, and so can we mere mortals. Make sure your ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required