Saturday 31 January 2004

Programming is Gardening, not Engineering

After eavesdropping on a Conversation with Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, I would like to share two quotes:

On Programming is Gardening:

With a garden, there's a constant assumption of maintenance. Everybody says, I want a low maintenance garden, but the reality is a garden is something that you're always interacting with to improve or even just keep the same. Although I know there's building maintenance, you typically don't change the shape of a building. It just sits there. We want people to view software as being far more organic, far more malleable, and something that you have to be prepared to interact with to improve all the time.

On Coding is not Mechanical:

Quite often you'll be programming some requirement that should be simple, but turns out to be really complicated. Why is this? Often it is because the requirement has been poorly stated or understood. You say, "Wait a minute, I don't like how this is turning out." You go back to the client and say, "You asked for this, but it is having all these ripple effects in the code. Why is this?" And the client will say, "Oh, I didn't really mean it that way. I meant it this way." The code is a mirror, a model of the reality you're actually implementing. If the code has problems, it could well be because the reality as expressed to you has problems. Simply seeing code as mechanical loses all the benefit of that feedback.

Related Entry