Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Feb 2013 10:40 UTC
General Development "Since I left my job at Amazon I have spent a lot of time reading great source code. Having exhausted the insanely good idSoftware pool, the next thing to read was one of the greatest game of all time: Duke Nukem 3D and the engine powering it named 'Build'. It turned out to be a difficult experience: The engine delivered great value and ranked high in terms of speed, stability and memory consumption but my enthousiasm met a source code controversial in terms of organization, best practices and comments/documentation. This reading session taught me a lot about code legacy and what helps a software live long." Hail to the king, baby.
Thread beginning with comment 552768
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Sun 17th Feb 2013 02:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

You can't get around the fact that if the software works it has been engineered correctly because it's doing what it was designed to do.


Uh no. That's like saying Trabant was a good car because it worked. Working is not a measurement of good engineering, for numerous reasons. For one, badly written code is hard to verify by both manual or automatic means so it's hard to know if it actually works and under what circumstances it will work or fail. Secondly, what works right now might not work tomorrow or next week. We don't live in a static world and it's a lot easier to adapt well-written and structured code to changing requirements.

In my experience, most people who argue that the end, "working" programs, justifies the means are those who write terrible and fragile code.

One of the worst things people do is try to fix things that aren't broken. Unless there's an actual need to rewrite something, it's a complete waste to do so.


Sure but it's a completely different thing and we're not talking about rewriting code. We're talking about doing it right in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 17th Feb 2013 03:48 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

You can't get around the fact that if the software works it has been engineered correctly because it's doing what it was designed to do.

Uh no. That's like saying Trabant was a good car because it worked. Working is not a measurement of good engineering, for numerous reasons. For one, badly written code is hard to verify by both manual or automatic means so it's hard to know if it actually works and under what circumstances it will work or fail. Secondly, what works right now might not work tomorrow or next week. We don't live in a static world and it's a lot easier to adapt well-written and structured code to changing requirements.

You're assuming something other than using the software is required to know if it works. You're assuming the software working is conditional. You're playing "what if" by suggesting it may not work tomorrow. In _some cases_ you have a valid point. However, in other cases it simply doesn't apply or is untrue.

Also, your idea of what is "well-written and structured" can be and is very different from what other people deem as the same. One huge thing you seem to be missing is that personal opinion plays a large role in making judgments about someones code. I know several great coders who are often times in disagreement about code-related issues. To put it simply, coding is not black & white the way you think it is. It's not correct or incorrect. It's not right or wrong. There is a lot of grey area and more than one way to skin a cat.

In my experience, most people who argue that the end, "working" programs, justifies the means are those who write terrible and fragile code.

In many cases that may be true. In many cases it is not.

One of the worst things people do is try to fix things that aren't broken. Unless there's an actual need to rewrite something, it's a complete waste to do so.

Sure but it's a completely different thing and we're not talking about rewriting code. We're talking about doing it right in the first place.

Again, what's "right" is often times a matter of opinion therefore there is no right or wrong -- only working and non-working.

Making assumptions about things that don't apply (when they don't apply) is pointless. Unnecessarily over-complicating things is pointless. "Fixing" something that isn't broken is pointless. Deeming software to be "wrong" because it doesn't follow your own coding philosophies is pointless.

Earlier you pointed that we don't live in a static world. In addition to that, coding `rightness` and `wrongness` isn't always static either.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Alfman on Mon 18th Feb 2013 16:05 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

"You can't get around the fact that if the software works it has been engineered correctly because it's doing what it was designed to do."

It works...until it doesn't.

As long as it's limited to personal code, and the original developer doesn't care about how it's engineered, then maybe it doesn't matter to him. But if he's working in a corporate setting, some other poor sole will inherit that code and he'll be none-to-pleased to learn that the earlier developer completely disregarded code quality in his work.


"Also, your idea of what is 'well-written and structured' can be and is very different from what other people deem as the same. One huge thing you seem to be missing is that personal opinion plays a large role in making judgments about someones code. I know several great coders who are often times in disagreement about code-related issues."

Of course there are different opinions, especially with details that come down to different tastes. But ask them if they think the engineering doesn't matter at all as long as the end product works. The good software engineers I know are proud of good engineering.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by lucas_maximus on Mon 18th Feb 2013 19:02 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

When the original developer leaves you have an maintainance nightmare.

Welcome to my world.

Reply Parent Score: 3