Bioperl: Joining up...
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 15:37:51 -0800
At 19:15 +0000 1/25/99, Ewan Birney wrote:
> We don't mind 'bad' code -
> Some people are very embarrassed about showing their code to others for
> fear of being told that there is a better way of doing it. It is fine
> to have kludges and make hacks - at least if they work - and bioperl has
> a number of wince-making or obtuse bits of code. Eventually someone takes
> them out and (hopefully) fixes it. Nearly all of us have made some real
> howlers in our time (I know I have) so we've all been there.
I would change one little word... :-) How about:
We don't mind 'imperfect' code -
Or better yet:
We don't require 'perfect' code -
In my world (15 years a programmer, several of them spent employed as
a "Quality Lead" for two software development groups... ) there is a
difference (subtle, perhaps, but nonetheless important) between
"bad" code and "less than perfect" code.
Bad code doesn't work. Bad code has bugs. Bad code is _not_ valuable
for helping others to "figure out the best way to write a module for
myself". Bad code causes more problems, ultimately, than it solves,
and wastes both your time and mine.
I'm willing to let other people find bugs in my code; I'm not
perfect. But before I send it to you, I'm going to try to make sure
that it's something I'm willing to allow to represent _me_.
While I agree that the Bioperl project should not be placing
restrictions on formatting style or naming conventions or insisting
that all code run under "use strict" or "perl -w" (although a myriad
of potential ailments may be relieved by judicious use of these
during development!); nevertheless, it's not a bad thing to ask
people to look their code over before submitting it. Test it, even
:-) Supply a little bit of documentation. Take a little care.
The statement "We don't mind bad code" does not fit well with the statements
"It is fine to have kludges and make hacks - at least if they work"
"The best way to do that is submit code as-is that WORKS asap--"
Bad code... doesn't really work. It may appear to work, but
appearances can be deceiving.
You wouldn't say "We don't mind bad science" would you? Accept
results from someone known to take a less-than-careful approach to
calibrating their equipment or washing their glassware?
A proper aseptic technique is useful in programming too... keeps the
unwanted bugs down... ;-)
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