Indelible Blue Pen

Jason C. McDonald (CodeMouse92)

June 15, 2012

They Found Me Again!

I’m supposed to be writing code right now, but I’m trying to find the neon sign over my head that says “Idiots Welcome.” Yeah, did I JUST blog about this? Well, yeah, but let’s just say I found a new species. (And anyway, that’s only part of the focus of this post.)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, deep in the jungles of the internet resides the feared Programatticus Militarius, a hybrid crossbreed between P. Newbieflamerous and P. Takeitovericus. This creature attacks its victim, generally a beginner or intermediate level programmer, with “best practice” dogmas, rending most helpless and questioning their own qualifications. I’m actually surprised I hadn’t spotted this species before.

Now, I need to clear up something about “best practices,” here. I advocate them to a point. I agree with the rule of programming that, in any project, you MUST have a standard, and you MUST stick to it. Lack of a standard never ends well. Industry-accepted “best practices” are a great place to start.

But they are not law. In fact, the people that write them even say that outright. “Best practices” ARE NOT meant to be used as dogmas. It is impossible to anticipate every need of every project, thus why these rules are used as a suggested standard, not a final end-all.

Programatticus Militarius, however, believe otherwise. They think that their standard is THE standard, and nothing else should be tolerated. And they will shred anyone who dares to go against their dogma. They’re the Grammar Nazis of the computer world, only there’s less of a place for them in programming. Grammar is a relatively static standard that should be adopted, more or less, by everyone. “Best practices” varies with project.

I’m fairly sure a programmer or two read this blog (at least, I hope some do,) so my encouragement to all coders who read this is “hold to your best practices with humility.” Someone, somewhere, might actually need to use a different standard, and they will usually have a good reason for it. Standards should be strictly enforced within a project, never universally across ALL projects.

That said, I cannot emphasize more the need for a standard. Find one and use it. Start with industry standard best practices, and tweak it from there. (Actually, going through and cleaning up some parts of my code to meet my current standard is one of my summer goals.)

Case and point, the common practice for function names in ActionScript is to camelCase them, with the first letter always lowercase. For my project, however, I need to use uppercased CamelCase names for common (public scope, for you techies out there) functions, and lowercased camelCase for functions used by their related common functions (that would be private scope).

Anyhow, I digress. After dealing with one P. Militaricus too many, I’ve decided to stop sharing my code and tutorials on other communities, and only post it here at IBP. That way, if one of the more vicious of the Programatticus species sees it, I can keep their nastiness at bay, only letting constructive comments through (yes, even those suggesting alternatives).

In other news, I am graduating from high school in LITERALLY a week! Half of my contact book’s worth of people will be descending upon our church for the big ceremony, with most of the other half joining via webcast. It’s gonna be beautiful. Of course, all my Facebook friends are welcome to join! I’ll be re-posting the webcast details on my wall throughout the week.

Which leads me to remembering that I have a speech to write. (Did I just hear someone cringe?) It is supposed to be kept to 5 minutes or less, and I have made the determination to keep the phrase “Thank you to all the little people whose names I cannot remember…” OUT of it altogether.

As if!

Graduation is a big deal for me, especially considering the extra two years it took me to graduate high school, thanks to that head injury I’ve mentioned before. So, of course I’m tickled that I get to have a private ceremony, instead of my name being rattled off in front of a thousand people. I guess that’s just my personality in a nutshell. I’d prefer to graduate in front of a hundred or so people that care about me, than in front of a thousand or so people who have no idea who I am.

Actually, I think I’m gonna have to cut this blog post short here. My Uncle is coming this evening, and I think Mum’s getting overwhelmed with preparations. Code can wait…especially since I’m still recovering from that P. Militaricus.

I guess that’s what I get for being a type AAA personality, entering a field noted for its anti-social fauna.



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