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The Programmer
@KevlinHenney
kevlin@curbralan.com
programmer, noun
 one who writes computer programs
 a person who prepares and tests
programs for devices
 an organism c...
There is an art, craft, and science to
programming that extends far beyond
the program. The act of programming
marries the...
Hacking and painting have a lot in
common. In fact, of all the different types
of people I've known, hackers and
painters ...
Hacking and painting have a lot in
common. In fact, of all the different types
of people I've known, hackers and
painters ...
Agile models are paintings,
not photographs
Don Wells
http://www.agile-process.org/model.html
Agile models are not paintings;
if anything, they are sketches
People in high tech take pride in their work.
They are individuals who see the details of
the things they produce in the l...
Habitability is the characteristic of
source code that enables programmers,
coders, bug-fixers, and people coming
to the c...
Habitability makes a place livable, like
home. And this is what we want in
software — that developers feel at
home, can pl...
https://twitter.com/chrisoldwood/status/579215003531763712
Cargo cult programming is a style of
computer programming characterized by the
ritual inclusion of code or program
structu...
I have yet to see any problem,
however complicated, which,
when you looked at it in the
right way, did not become still
mo...
Eschew the monumental.
Shun the Epic. All the guys
who can paint great big
pictures can paint great
small ones.
Ernest Hem...
Are human beings
"noble in reason" and
"infinite in faculty" as
William Shakespeare
famously wrote?
Perfect, "in God's
ima...
Hardly.
I think that three of the best-documented tenets of economic
psychology can help explain why we collectively took on the
l...
I think that three of the best-documented tenets of economic
psychology can help explain why we collectively took on the
l...
Although individuals and some markets display
it, economists dislike it on the grounds that it is
"irrational". That's bec...
Stop Overpromising and Overshooting
We want to do everything all at once. Grand plans!
Sweeping gestures! Epic 23-book fan...
You have to finish things —
that's what you learn from,
you learn by finishing things.
Neil Gaiman
Social scientists have long assumed that it's impossible to process
more than one string of information at a time. The bra...
So [Clifford] Nass and his colleagues, Eyal Ophir and Anthony
Wagner, set out to learn what gives multitaskers their edge....
"We kept looking for what they're better at, and we didn't find it."
http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2009/multitask-research-r...
People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of
electronic information do not pay attention, control their memo...
One reason programmers dislike meetings
so much is that they're on a different type
of schedule from other people. Meeting...
One reason programmers dislike meetings
so much is that they're on a different type
of schedule from other people. Meeting...
Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people
get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, bu...
The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder
each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for
shor...
One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead
of expending the energy to first think through the
conseque...
The four
conditions that
characterize wise
crowds:
diversity of
opinion,
independence,
decentralization,
and aggregation.
There’s little correlation between a
group’s collective intelligence and
the IQs of its individual members.
But if a group...
Graphic by Sebastian Hermida
http://sbastn.com/2009/06/typing-is-not-the-bottleneck/
Our task is not to find the
maximum amount of
content in a work of art.
Our task is to cut back
content so that we can see...
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
The Programmer
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The Programmer

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Keynote presented at SDD (12th May 2015)

Somewhere in the heart of a development process, essential to the very being of a product's existence, are the people who write, consider and wrestle with code. What motivates and demotivates them? What are the intellectual challenges and rewards? What are the skills they have and need and cognitive biases and environment they work with and against?

This talk by the editor of 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know considers the act of programming and those who do it and want to get better at it, from the perspective of development process to craft, from architecture to code.

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The Programmer

  1. 1. The Programmer @KevlinHenney kevlin@curbralan.com
  2. 2. programmer, noun  one who writes computer programs  a person who prepares and tests programs for devices  an organism capable of turning caffeine into code Oxford English Dictionary ∙ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ∙ Urban Dictionary
  3. 3. There is an art, craft, and science to programming that extends far beyond the program. The act of programming marries the discrete world of computers with the fluid world of human affairs. Programmers mediate between the negotiated and uncertain truths of business and the crisp, uncompromising domain of bits and bytes and higher constructed types.
  4. 4. Hacking and painting have a lot in common. In fact, of all the different types of people I've known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. Paul Graham "Hackers and Painters" http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html
  5. 5. Hacking and painting have a lot in common. In fact, of all the different types of people I've known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. What hackers and painters have in common is that they're both makers. Along with composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is make good things. Paul Graham "Hackers and Painters" http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html
  6. 6. Agile models are paintings, not photographs Don Wells http://www.agile-process.org/model.html
  7. 7. Agile models are not paintings; if anything, they are sketches
  8. 8. People in high tech take pride in their work. They are individuals who see the details of the things they produce in the light of the trials and triumphs they experience while creating products. In the courage of creation, they find a place to hang their individuality. Programmers and techno types appreciate elegant, spare code and the occasional well-turned architectural hack. Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searles and David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  9. 9. Habitability is the characteristic of source code that enables programmers, coders, bug-fixers, and people coming to the code later in its life to understand its construction and intentions and to change it comfortably and confidently.
  10. 10. Habitability makes a place livable, like home. And this is what we want in software — that developers feel at home, can place their hands on any item without having to think deeply about where it is.
  11. 11. https://twitter.com/chrisoldwood/status/579215003531763712
  12. 12. Cargo cult programming is a style of computer programming characterized by the ritual inclusion of code or program structures that serve no real purpose. Cargo cult programming can also refer to the results of applying a design pattern or coding style blindly without understanding the reasons behind that design principle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult_programming
  13. 13. I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. Anderson's Law
  14. 14. Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones. Ernest Hemingway
  15. 15. Are human beings "noble in reason" and "infinite in faculty" as William Shakespeare famously wrote? Perfect, "in God's image," as some biblical scholars have asserted?
  16. 16. Hardly.
  17. 17. I think that three of the best-documented tenets of economic psychology can help explain why we collectively took on the loans that events have proved were so unwise. The first is materialism. [...] The second is money. [...] http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627595.800- economic-recovery-needs-psychological-recovery.html
  18. 18. I think that three of the best-documented tenets of economic psychology can help explain why we collectively took on the loans that events have proved were so unwise. The first is materialism. [...] The second is money. [...] Finally, we have the most spectacular deviation from rationality: the massive myopia with which we approach choices between good things that will arrive at different points in the future. Humans are quite hopeless at such "inter- temporal choice", consistently choosing to take small benefits sooner rather than large benefits later. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627595.800- economic-recovery-needs-psychological-recovery.html
  19. 19. Although individuals and some markets display it, economists dislike it on the grounds that it is "irrational". That's because under hyperbolic discounting, a person has a strong preference for getting something today rather than tomorrow, but only a weak preference for getting it on day 100 rather than day 101; yet when day 100 arrives, they will strongly prefer to get the resource immediately. "Valuing the future... you're doing it wrong" http://www.newscientist.com/article/ mg21228354.600-a-better-way-to-price-the-future-takes-hold.html
  20. 20. Stop Overpromising and Overshooting We want to do everything all at once. Grand plans! Sweeping gestures! Epic 23-book fantasy cycles! Don’t overreach. Concentrate on what you can complete. Temper risk with reality. Chuck Wendig "25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing" http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/01/03/25-things-writers-should-stop-doing/
  21. 21. You have to finish things — that's what you learn from, you learn by finishing things. Neil Gaiman
  22. 22. Social scientists have long assumed that it's impossible to process more than one string of information at a time. The brain just can't do it. But many researchers have guessed that people who appear to multitask must have superb control over what they think about and what they pay attention to. http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2009/multitask-research-release-082409.html
  23. 23. So [Clifford] Nass and his colleagues, Eyal Ophir and Anthony Wagner, set out to learn what gives multitaskers their edge. What is their gift? http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2009/multitask-research-release-082409.html
  24. 24. "We kept looking for what they're better at, and we didn't find it." http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2009/multitask-research-release-082409.html
  25. 25. People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time. http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2009/multitask-research-release-082409.html
  26. 26. One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. Paul Graham "Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule" http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html
  27. 27. One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. For someone on the maker's schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn't merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work. Paul Graham "Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule" http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html
  28. 28. Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html
  29. 29. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html
  30. 30. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html
  31. 31. The four conditions that characterize wise crowds: diversity of opinion, independence, decentralization, and aggregation.
  32. 32. There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises. "What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women" http://hbr.org/2011/06/defend-your-research-what-makes-a-team-smarter-more-women/
  33. 33. Graphic by Sebastian Hermida http://sbastn.com/2009/06/typing-is-not-the-bottleneck/
  34. 34. Our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art. Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all. Susan Sontag
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Keynote presented at SDD (12th May 2015) Somewhere in the heart of a development process, essential to the very being of a product's existence, are the people who write, consider and wrestle with code. What motivates and demotivates them? What are the intellectual challenges and rewards? What are the skills they have and need and cognitive biases and environment they work with and against? This talk by the editor of 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know considers the act of programming and those who do it and want to get better at it, from the perspective of development process to craft, from architecture to code.

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