Category Archives: Learning

Exercises in Programming Style

In the book club at work, we recently finished reading Exercises in Programming Style by Cristina Videira Lopes. The book consists of a simple program implemented in 33 different programming styles. It is a great way of showing the different styles, and the book was quite popular in the book club. The book is relatively new (it was published in 2014), and I don’t think it is as well-known as it deserves to be. So here is a summary and review of it. Continue reading

Programming for Grade 8

For the past two months, I have been helping my son’s grade 8 class to learn to program. All students wrote Python programs and got a feel for what programming is. This post has details on how we organized the course, code examples and lessons learned. Continue reading

Book Review: The Effective Engineer

Last month we finished reading “The Effective Engineer” by Edmond Lau in the book club at work. It is a great book full of practical advice on how to get more done as a software developer. In fact, it is one of the three books I think all programmers would benefit from reading (the other two are Code Complete and The Pragmatic Programmer).

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Developer Book Club

dsc_0333For several years now, we have been running a developer book club at work. We pick a book relevant to software development, and read a chapter a week. Every other week we meet for 30 to 45 minutes and discuss what we have read. It is quite popular and useful, so I thought I would describe how we do it, and why having a book club at work is a good idea. Continue reading

Book Review: Release It!

In the book club at work, we recently finished reading Release It! by Michael T. Nygard. It is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time, but somehow I never got around to it until now. It was written in 2007, and it is starting to show its age in several respects.  Despite this, there is still a lot of relevant advice on how to make software work well in production.

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18 Lessons From 13 Years of Tricky Bugs

In Learning From Your Bugs, I wrote about how I have been keeping track of the most interesting bugs I have come across. I recently reviewed all 194 entries (going back 13 years), to see what lessons I have learned from them. Here are the most important lessons, split into the categories of coding, testing and debugging:

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Learning From Your Bugs

DSC_0663Bugs are great learning opportunities. So how do we make sure we learn as much as possible from the bugs we fix? A method I have used for more than 13 years now is to write down a short description of the bug, the fix, and the lessons I learned.

Way back in 2002, I came across a blog post (that I unfortunately can’t find again) that described this method. I have used it ever since, and I believe it has helped me become a better software developer.

Every time I fix a particularly tricky or interesting bug, I take a few minutes to write down some facts about it. Here is an example of a typical entry: Continue reading