Never. Ever. Cargo-cult.
Posted by Jamis on January 07, 2008 @ 01:31 PM
I was told today on a mailing list that some people have been justifying their coding decisions by saying things like “but that’s how Jamis does it!”
And I was mortified. Because someday a time will come (and likely already has!) when the things I’ve written will be surpassed by a better way, and I will wilt with embarrassment if anyone uses “that’s how Jamis does it” to justify continuing with the antiquated style.
I’m learning, constantly. Every project I undertake teaches me something new. Every programmer I’ve ever worked with has shown me a better way to do things. “How X does it” (for absolutely any mortal value of X) is a moving target, and if you’re blindly basing your designs on something I (or anyone else) wrote a year or two ago, then you should step cautiously.
Never. Ever. Cargo-cult. If someone writes about something that you find clever, understand why you think it is clever. If someone preaches a better algorithm, understand why the algorithm is better. And if someone asks why you do something a certain way, argue it on it’s own merits, without resorting to an appeal to someone’s (supposed) authority. If you can argue that something is better than something else solely by contrasting it’s pros and cons against the alternative, you’ll be taken much more seriously. And you’ll have a much better chance of recognizing a better way when it is presented to you.
I’ll say it again. Never. Ever. Cargo-cult. Ever.
That said, I’ve been very, very quiet lately, and I apologize. I’ve been rethinking some priorities and experimenting with some new interests. Also, I’ve been trying to finish up (finally) Net::SSH v2 and Net::SFTP v2. Hopefully this year I’ll climb out of the hole I dug for myself last year and have more to blog about again.