Someone took exception to me saying:
“I have yet to read a good “Pragmatic Programmer Series” book.”
…with the lines:
“I think that’s a bit of a hard knock of the Pragmatic Bookshelf. I’ve had a number of books which I’ve really enjoyed from them; The Pragmatic Programmer and Practices of an Agile Developer spring to mind.”
Hehe, he caught me! Oh, I didn’t lie—I just never actually finished a single one of their books. I started reading the Pickaxe book and The Pragmatic Programmer mentioned, but I put them down in disgust.
[But that won’t stop me from peeing on your programming religion after the jump.]
They call this pragmatic?
Speaking of the Pragmatic Programmer, we’re talking about the book whose oft quoted maxim is that a programmer should learn a new programming language every year, right?
Let’s see, I’ve been coding for over 25 years now. I do not know 25 programming languages, and only know about four competently right now.
Learning another programming language is like learning a new language just to help with one’s understanding of grammar—sure learning Latin helped my grammar, but it’s still a dead language. I am much better served by learning new programming concepts that those languages inspire. Even when attempting to learn my historically fun punching bag, Ruby on Rails, I have learned more than a couple of concepts, but the syntax I have already forgotten.
Continuing the Latin analogy: If my goal was to learn to write better, my prose would have been better served reading more Shakespeare and the King James Bible, than learning Latin.
…on to those Agile practices
Agile practices:programming project management::Getting Things Done:life management
It’s nice in theory, but still more about “practice what we preach, but not what we do.” Test first development, pair programming, user stories… geez need I go on? How many times has this shit only been proven to be better than backasswards “software as construction” ISO 9001 software paradigms and been crushed by process-less development before you have to say:
Shit, sure it’s a lot better than the heavyweight bullshit I was taught in misguided books on programming but it’s a whole lot worse than the village idiot approach.
Back to those pithy pragmatic prose
Oh sure the stuff sounds pretty and pithy. But honestly, let’s see the authors put up, or shut up as programmers. What code have they written that follows these maxims religiously? On the other hand, I’ll bring up one website that uses the far more intuitive fast-and-loose approach to development: Facebook.
Want to pull out penises? Let’s get a tape measure.
Real pragmatism doesn’t elevate the coder to Olympian heights with petty pronouncements. Real pragmatic programming is about having a destination and getting there programmatically—it may be ugly, but it works; trying it with pithy prose, is ab asino lanam quaerum.
More Latin bludgeoning
“Quod est, eo decet uti: et quicquid agas, agere pro viribus.”
—Cicero, De Senectute
Shorter terry chay
“How pragmatically they’ve programmed, to preach pithy prose over plain programming!”