Programming languages are how programmers express and communicate ideas

“In reality, programming languages are how programmers express and communicate ideas — and the audience for those ideas is other programmers, not computers. The reason: the computer can take care of itself, but programmers are always working with other programmers, and poorly communicated ideas can cause expensive flops.”

~ Guido van Rossum, in this 2016 article

I’m still in here

Sometimes when I get really sick with the MCAS symptoms it becomes very hard for me to communicate. If I’m with someone else during those episodes and they look at me struggling I think, “I’m still Al, I’m still in here ... I just can’t get the words out.”

I think sometimes that’s the way it is for people when they get older and slow down, or have dementia, I imagine they have those thoughts as well.

On the importance of communication in programming

Very true. I worked with a guy about 10 years ago who was very smart, but he was also an a-hole. At times he seemed to think it was more important to be funny or snarky than it was to communicate properly, and very often it cost my client time and money, not to mention the frustration of other programmers on his projects. (Image from this twitter link.)

Bad things happen when developers don't communicate

I was recently reminded of the danger of leaving less-experienced software developers alone to create new functionality in a technical area where they have no prior experience. For instance, suppose you have one or more good but less-experienced developers, and you ask them to work in a technical where they have no prior experience. These aren't totally inexperienced developers; they may each have at least five years experience. Given that their are other people on the team with experience in this area, how do you think this should be handled? Choices include:

Wed, Nov 24, 2004

Me: "I'd like the #8 (a taco, chili relleno, beans, and mexican salad) with no beans please." (Thinking to myself that this is just too much food, and since I'm trying to cut down my proportions I decide to skip the beans.)

Waiter: "Ok."

Five minutes go by ... the waiter comes back with a taco, a chili relleno, a mexican salad ... and rice. Apparently saying "no beans" means "rice".

How often are you stuck in a dualistic world like this, unable to see another option? How often do you not communicate well?