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The Case of the Unconventional Coder

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mishapom
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cin >> isReaderCoder;
mishapom   5/1/2014 12:17:56 PM
printf( "What an awe%s piece of code! I find such coding style %s. A programmer who is %s enough to develop such code should be %sed.\n", isReaderCoder? "some" : "ful", isReaderCoder? "magnificent" : "unreadable", isReaderCoder? "smart" : "inconsiderate", isReaderCoder? "promot" : "replac" );

anon3887601
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C? No!
anon3887601   5/1/2014 1:01:53 PM
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This man is an APL programmer at heart.

 

 

jonnydoin
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Re: C? No!
jonnydoin   5/1/2014 1:07:43 PM
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Hi anon3887601, Actually he is a brilliant Embedded Engineer. He ended up taking critical part in core aspects of our hardware and embedded firmware group. - Jonny

betajet
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Re: cin >> isReaderCoder;
betajet   5/1/2014 1:39:03 PM
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Nicely done -- very amusing!  I like the way you slipped "sed" in there.  For those of you unfamiliar with "sed", it's the Unix/GNU "stream editor".  It's a great way to process certain kinds of text, but is pretty much a write-only language.

Sheepdoll
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Re: C? No!
Sheepdoll   5/1/2014 1:42:14 PM
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% For a moment I thought perhaps this programmer was a postscript programmer.  We use lots of % as these are comments.

% Normally I code my lashups in postscript. This last week I have been coding in C.  Must remember to put the ifs and elses at the top of the bracketed {} blocks not the bottoms.  << and >> are used to denote dictionary structures.

% Perhaps this is why I prefer AVR ASM for embedded.  It feels really strange to use C on an 8 bit micro with only 2K of SRAM.  printf and fprintf are not the best solution in such a limited environment.

betajet
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Re: C? No!
betajet   5/1/2014 1:43:25 PM
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anon wrote: This man is an APL programmer at heart.

I'd say more likely a LISP programmer at heart.  The LISP conditional expression is COND, which is a superset of C's conditional expression.

If this were APL, there'd be a bunch of outer products and none of us would be able to understand it :-)

perl_geek
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Eschew obfuscation
perl_geek   5/1/2014 5:32:24 PM
There's a place for code like that; the "Obfuscated C" competition, where programmers can get the perversity out of their systems before producing real work.

People acquire all sorts of ideas about what constitutes good code, from all sorts of haphazard sources, but managers should make it clear upfront what constitutes merit. (It took me a while to figure it out, and I ask forgiveness of my victims.)

A program is not just a set of instructions to the compiler, it's an open letter to the next unfortunate who has to maintain it. As long as it does the job in a reasonable time, clarity is the prime virtue. It should be obvious what it's doing, and why.  This can take a surprising amount of work, distilling the essence of the problem's structure and using the most powerful tools available.

One of the unfortunate consequences of CS education is that people feel compelled to recreate compilers and usurp the functions provided by the operating system, presumably to justify the pain of studying them. KISS, dammit!

 

 

BrainiacVI
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He followed a Magazine Article on Management
BrainiacVI   5/1/2014 6:01:42 PM
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I had a (terrible) manager once who insisted one of the programmers on my team recode the three move statements he used to make a string and use sprintf instead.

So we went from three small, fast MOV statements (when compiled) to a slow, interpreted function call that would have added K's of code if it wasn't already used elsewhere.

All for the edict of "One line of code is easier to maintain than three."

ghova
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Re: Eschew obfuscation
ghova   5/2/2014 11:17:11 AM
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Re "clarity is the prime virtue."  Amen - writing turgid code that's "efficient" costs more than it saves.  From a cost-benefit standpoint the optimal program is no faster than adequately fast (C and assembly programmers reading this are probably reaching for the smelling salts).  If future additions makes it unacceptably slow, then and only then do you make an analysis of hot spots and work on those that produce the greatest bang for the buck until the program is again adequate.

Re the manager who wanted three clever lines replaced with one that would be familiar to other readers: they promoted the right guy to manager.

However, the managers referenced, who insist on rewrites to improve clarity, are thin on the ground, at least in my experience (1959 - present).  The ones I've encountered would not take kindly to the programmers taking the time to (in their view) "beautify" code.  And it wouldn't win them any friends among THEIR managers.

Jimmy99Neutron
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Management
Jimmy99Neutron   5/2/2014 12:33:33 PM
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Firstly, as this person was a subordinate, expectations for his work should be clear, a process is to be followed as it benefits the team, the project and its management and the product ( reduced maintenance, robustness, correctness, etc.).  

Knowing this persons history, the guidelines or standards should have been emphasized.  Tolerating deviations incurs risk, re-work, time/schedule implications, quality and money.  As the Leader of the project you "own" the results.  In no way does this condone the Coders preferences and choices.

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