Coders at work is a book written by Peter Seibel that interviews Computer Programmer who have made significant contribution to the profession/craft by coding.

My thoughts/takeaway/commentary on Jamie Zawinski’s conversation with Peter Seibel

“That was kind of getting thrown in the deep end. It was like the Zen Approach — the master hit me with a stick, now I must meditate.”

Jamie is explaining how in his formative years he learned when he thrown into deep and had to crawl back on this own. I can recall how I was assigned to work on this multi-threaded module called TDC – Traffic Data Controller. I was learning and wrestling with syncronization and threads in c while writing the code.

“There was a bug in GDB”

Jamie ends up finding a bug in GDB that was diagosning his problem incorrectly.

On Perl

“Oh I despise it. It’s a horrible language.”

I couldn’t agree more.

On C++

“C++ is just abomination.”

Having coded in C++ for 4+ years and Python too, the problem is C++ is it offers everything under the sun.  It’s bloated and there are more than one way to do things. Something that goes with Perl as well. Positive is C++ run time execution is amazing and also the libraries and frameworks at disposal. Perl on the other end has CPAN. Question is how long will these language be popular, I can’t predict.

“Second System Syndrome”

“We were so focused on deadline it was like religion”

“It’s not so much that I was proud of the code; just that it was done. In a lot of ways the code wasn’t very good because it was done very fast. But it got the job done. We shipped — that was the bottom line.”

On being asked What he enjoyed about programming ?

“Just figuring out how to get from point A to point B — how to make the machine do what you want. That’s the basic element that the satisfaction of programming comes from”

On need to refactor one’s own code

“I don’t remember too many occasions where I thought, “Oh, I did this whole thing inside out. I’m going to have to move everything around” That does happen sometimes.”

On developer-level tests like unit tests

“We never did any of that. I did occasionally for some things”

Next I will be reading  Brad Fitzpatrick conversation with Peter. See you then.