You can learn a lot about how much a man fears something by seeing what he will do to procrastinate instead of doing it. Paul Graham talks about “sneaking” out to get a root canal, feeling like he was getting away with it, to avoid a board meeting of his first startup.
In this series I’m building courseware (teaching software) to let folks go through lessons in a better way than the simple email classes I use now. Last week we figured out how to track progress for a user in a topic using an AJAX call hooked up to a button and selector in the browser. It looks okay...
I talk about Coding Studies in a few places — my RubyConf talk and my book Mastering Software Technique,, for instance. But lots of “how-to” is never as powerful as just seeing something in action. So the video here shows me doing a simple coding study.
Coding exercises seem like a great idea if you want to learn coding. If you want to learn a practical skill then you should practice, right?
And yet coders don’t do a lot of them. Some, but not a lot. And the longer you’ve been a coder, the fewer of them you seem to do. Ask your favourite long-term veteran coder. A few of them will act guilty that they don’t, but almost none of them actually do coding exercises.
Why don’t we?
I could rail about how silly that is. But I won’t. If nearly everybody doesn’t do something, it’s usually because it’s not as good an idea as it seems. They used to tell us to all use flowcharts for designing program logic. We didn’t. We were 100% right on that one.
We’re basically right about coding exercises, too. But there’s a better alternative that a few people do, especially long-time coders. That’s what you should actually be doing. It’s more fun, too.
But before we get to what you maybe should be doing, let’s talk about why you’re right about most coding exercises.
Subscribe to get free ebook chapters and an emailed coding class now, plus videos and articles a few times a month.
Why this specific newsletter? You want to be an expert. Expertise comes from learning the fundamentals, deeply. And that comes from the best kind of practice.
I write with that in mind. I won't waste your time.
(Yes, I also sell things. They're good, but I'm fine if you don't buy them.)