Why "I" do Programming

Dec 11, 12:05 AM

eople do different things for different reasons. What’s usually ignored is that often, people do the same things for different reasons. Take running. Some people do it for weight loss, some for increasing stamina, some for the pure joy—for the “kicks” of it, you might say. Today, I want to talk about why “I” do programming.

A computer program is what runs on a computer system and produces a desired output. If you’re the sort of programmer who’s enamored by this aspect of programming, you tend to worry a lot about writing programs that get the last bit of performance out of a system. You probably like to optimize the code to a level where it takes advantage of all the peculiar characteristics of a system. I know a lot of people who care an awful lot about this, and I really respect and admire them; but I am not one of them.

A computer program is also the expression of an idea. Over its lifetime, depending on what system a program is a part of, it’ll be read by tens to hundreds to thousands of people. All these people will try to understand what it does, how it does it, and how to modify or extend it. It is this aspect of programming that most interests me. I get my “kicks” out of writing programs that are easily comprehensible, well structured and clearly written. From this perspective, the process of programming becomes similar to the process of writing(another thing I love), and you tend to worry about the same kinds of things. Not surprisingly, I often find myself being guided by the “Elements of Style”, the classic on writing. For example, the old Strunkian wisdom:

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer makes all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell, can be applied equally well to programming as well.

Of course, it is impossible to completely separate any aspect of an activity and focus on it in isolation. But it is often worthwhile to know the reasons why you do what you do. Reflection, you know, can be delightful at times!

Rahul Jha




  1. I program because it is fun.

    — 240770 · Dec 15, 05:44 AM · #

  2. Programming demands a vocation, to my mind, today it is so popular that many consider it an easy task to do, bur we shouldn’t delude ourselves. Every work requires its master.

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  3. It is very good, that you have found something which is interesting for you. Also, you can earn a lot of money with the help of programming, because it is one of the well-paid job. Just develop yourself.

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