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What's My Point?

9 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Sep 12, 2003 12:28 PM by momcilo

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Ron Jeffries

Posts: 5
Nickname: rejeffries
Registered: Jul, 2003

What's My Point? (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Jul 21, 2003 2:47 PM
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Summary
Programming is complicated, and the problems that "they" ask us to program are complicated. As a "bear of very little brain", my only hope is simplicity. My primary theme in these logs will be to explore how to find simplicity amid all the mess.
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For now, that's my point: my plan here is to address simplicity, how to find it, how to get it. Please add comments on your own approaches to dealing with complexity: we all need all the help we can get. Oh, and expect a few rants as well. I'm sure that will happen ... Welcome!


Andrew C. Steen

Posts: 3
Nickname: asteen
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 22, 2003 10:59 AM
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"I am still convinced that in computing, elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a quality that decides between sucess and failure; in this connection I gratefully quote from the Consice Oxford Dictionary a defintion of "elegant", viz. "ingeniously simple and effective". Amem. (For those who have wondered: I don't think object oriented programming is a structuring paradigm that meets my standards of elegance.)"

Edsger W. Dykstra March 1999

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd12xx/EWD1284.PDF

All these fads and fashions being pushed (Extreme programming, OO, XML, etc.) are part of the problem, not the solution.

Andrew C. Steen

Posts: 3
Nickname: asteen
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 22, 2003 11:02 AM
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After I posted my message I recieved the following. I could not have made my point any better!



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Steve Holden

Posts: 42
Nickname: holdenweb
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 22, 2003 4:43 PM
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The fact that this is not an original thought doesn't stop it from being important.

Perfection is reached, not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there
is no longer anything to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Unfortunately our masters (those with requirements who pay the bills) simply want a button that will do their jobs for them. The fact that they can't even specify what they want with much precision doesn't stop them from berating us for being unable to provide it.

Bill Venners

Posts: 2248
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 23, 2003 12:47 AM
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> Error Occurred
>
> Sadly, the following error has occurred. If you believe it
> to be a bug, please report it to webmaster@artima.com.
>
> java.lang.NullPointerException
> at
> com.jivesoftware.forum.filter.TextStyle.convertTags(Unknow
> Source)
> at
> com.jivesoftware.forum.filter.TextStyle.convertTags(Unknow
> Source)

Yes, I already know about this bug. It happens intermittently. I haven't had time to fix it yet.

What point were you wanting to make about complexity and simplicity?

Milan Maksimovic

Posts: 1
Nickname: maksa
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 24, 2003 4:21 AM
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I just ran into this page with Quotations on Simplicity in Software Design:

http://www.vanderburg.org/soft-quotes.html

Larry Adams

Posts: 2
Nickname: adams314
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 24, 2003 11:07 AM
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A common theme is shining through: "they" don't understand "us". Or, they don't understand how we work, or solve problems, and so on. This should not come as a great shock, since our backgrounds and training are often very different. As an aside, one of the reasons I think philosophers make good developers and/or users is because they have classical training in logic, something woefully missing from most academic curricula.

To make a blanket statement as one of the contributors has that software customers want a button to do their job for them is a gross oversimplification. Further, I think the attitude among many engineers that the business folk don't know what is going on (or make things more complicated than they are) is counterproductive. Once you get past these biases and try to communicate with people who view a problem differently than you, things get simpler.

I take a Socratic approach to solving problems that others bring to me, asking more and more detailed questions until the answers reveal themselves. My newest trick is to make someone restate their question a couple times before I attempt to answer. Generally, by the second or third time, we are speaking the same language, and I can avoid embarrasing the person by saying, "what you really want to know is X." Even if I know from their first misguided question what they are trying to get at, if I can help them learn to ask better questions, everyone will benefit when the next problem arises.

Software is just codified human interactions and rules applied to some data. If you can establish a common understanding of the priniciples of these interactions and rules and data, solving the problem becomes less complex, if not simple.

p.s. Eric Raymond has an interesting essay on asking questions. http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

Mike Morris

Posts: 4
Nickname: mikem
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Jul 28, 2003 11:21 AM
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Well put, sir! One memorable occasion, while trying to pin down requirements for a system, I ended-up asking my User the same question eight times before I felt I understood his answer. Never mind embarassing the User, I was apologising for my slowness and stupidity! That particular part of the system never came under question during qualification testing...

momcilo

Posts: 2
Nickname: savovic
Registered: Sep, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Sep 12, 2003 12:26 PM
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Je li to maxa iza sa, 2 gimnazija, 57 godiste.

Ako jeste, pozdrav od moce, javi se!
msavovic@rwbeck.com

momcilo

Posts: 2
Nickname: savovic
Registered: Sep, 2003

Re: What's My Point? Posted: Sep 12, 2003 12:28 PM
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Maxa, gde si bolan bio?


> I just ran into this page with Quotations on Simplicity in
> Software Design:
>
> http://www.vanderburg.org/soft-quotes.html

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