Joel on Software - Wrong Code Look Wrong - Clean Code - Fortune

Joel on Software - Wrong Code Look Wrong - Clean Code

When you start out as a beginning programmer, or you try to read code in a new language, it all looks equally inscrutable. Until you understand the programming language itself, you can’t even see obvious syntactic errors.

During the first phase of learning, you start to recognize the things that we usually refer to as “coding style.” So you start to notice code that doesn’t conform to indentation standards and Oddly-Capitalized variables.

It’s at this point you typically say, “Blistering Barnacles, we’ve got to get some consistent coding conventions around here!”, and you spend the next day writing up coding conventions for your team, and the next six days arguing about the One True Brace Style, and the next three weeks rewriting old code to conform to the One True Brace Style, until a manager catches you and screams at you for wasting time on something that can never make money, and you decide that it’s not really a bad thing to only reformat code when you revisit it, so you have about half of a True Brace Style, and pretty soon you forget all about that, and then you can start obsessing about something else irrelevant to making money like replacing one kind of string class with another kind of string class.

Author Joel Spolsky
Work Making Wrong Code Look Wrong