PSA for people who :

Looking stuff up does NOT make you bad at coding.

"Not having to look up stuff" is NOT the benchmark for a good coder, especially as coders have to look up stuff ALL THE TIME!

And I don't mean highly advanced stuff, but stuff like "How does division work again?" or "What's that function called?" or my personal favorite "How to I nest for loops in list comprehensions?".

It's ok if you have to look up stuff!

@minx <3 i'm always a bit embarassed when i don't/can't make the effort to understand the thing that I just looked up. like today, i kind of copied the thing and it worked, but i don't really know why/how.

@maunzikation That's ok, too. Copy stuff and later maybe learn how it works. Or sometime in the future, so other stuff made you understand how it works and then it clicks. Or not.

Which is ok too.

(See "Me having to look up nested for loops in list comprehension for YEARS now." XD )

@minx I work with PHP and WordPress for over 6 years and still go every day to documentation to check how to do some basic stuff. That's what documentation is for, so I don't have to remember every fucking thing

@minx As someone who can't remember the basics, but is really good at google-fu, thanks. :)

@minx i'm doing the advent of code in polyglot mode: one language per day, no repeats. There's going to be a lot of looking for answers online. Yesterday was go, today was Ruby, tomorrow, maybe Ada? I don't know the first thing about Ada.

I am a professional Perl developer for 5 years now.
Every time I need to write a script that parses a file, I still copy and paste it from the internet. I just don't bother to remember the syntax.

@minx But NOT looking up stuff, and not reading docs DOES in some cases, make people bad at coding.

@minx I don't think I have ever done anything non-trivial and not had to look up some sort of documentation.

I still look up how for loops work in whatever language I am using if I don't have an example in the code already.

@minx Whenever I code anything and it runs correctly with no noticable bugs the first time scares me. The first time I can code anything without looking up every-other-chunk of what I'm writing just to make sure I'm using it right, I will be feeling terrified and/or realize I've been using this one particular language & framework for far, far too long.

@JTE Ah, yes, the immediate distrust of "Wait, that was way too easy. What did I miss?". XD

@minx cc @jamey I was mob programming earlier this week and we had to look up the difference between `equal` and `eql` in our assertion library, and then clarify the difference between 'deep' and 'strict' equality… Because remembering those small details is hard, and not terribly useful.

I don't trust programmers who spend more time typing than reading.

@strand @minx Totes! To the point that I've been a little skeptical of programmers who spend a bunch of time deciding on the perfect keyboard. 🤔 (I suspect that language and tool choice and problem domain all influence the amount of typing you have to do, so I'm not going to make a blanket claim that typing so much means you're doing it wrong, but I've certainly wondered…)

@minx I'm doing a bootcamp right now and our instructors said the material purposely leaves things out here and there because it's important for us to learn how to look up documentation and stuff which has been VERY helpful (especially compared to the programming classes I took in college and eventually gave up on)

@minx @oneoddfrog
yesterday I had to look up how to get a date out of a datetime IN A LANGUAGE I'VE USED FOR 25 YEARS. This is normal.

@shadowfirebird @minx
I love the reminders that we don't need to keep it all in our heads. And looking stuff up is so normal. 🙌

@minx This times a thousand. I got terrible grades in my coding classes in college because I thought going online to look stuff up when the texts and professors were confusing was cheating. Don’t be me - I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer.

@minx In fact I would argue that not looking up code (in books or online) can be a problematic thing in cases where isolationist behaviour leads to lack of cooperation, or a lack of curiosity for creative solutions borrowing ideas from others. In many cases there is a correlation between the ever self-sufficient rockstar hacker stereotype and the Not Invented Here syndrome.
It's an egotism problem, and it has nothing to do with introversion.

@minx All the time. Google-Fu is a skill set all it's own.

@thegibson @minx Being a good coder is about knowing _when_ to use that thing you have to look up, and when _not_ to.

This has been a hard lesson for me, growing up in an environment of "looking stuff up is cheating."

Also I want to know, last time I had a programming interview, why I was given a laptop with no internet connection.

@DialMforMara Yeah, all too many programming interviews seem to be complete shit.

Also I think I was qualified for the job with the exception of the programming

@minx I have the language reference documentation open pretty much all the time.

@minx this! Almost anything that you want to do has been done before, and even if you've done it before too, someone else has done it better or more elegantly since! Look things up! The best code is 99% research.

@miki @minx I saw a comment on Stack Overflow: “I just googled this question that I answered myself two years ago. Thanks me!”

@minx we build our IDEs to make it more convenient to look stuff up

in Python this is even a language feature, the help() function

@schokopflaster Ha! Nicht speziell, nein, ich hatte nur von ein paar Seiten Ähnliches gelesen und da ein Bedürfnis.

(Und OMG, ich hab da anscheinend einen Nerv getroffen! :blobaww: )

@minx Definitiv!
(Das kleine begeisterte Küken ist sooo süß und passt super zu deinem Tootstyle ^-^.)

@schokopflaster Ja, ich find dieses Smileyset ganz allgemein toll. :blobnom:

@minx I can back that up. I've been a professional coder for five years and a hobbyist for ten years before that. Last week, sat at my desk at work, I had to look up how to strip the first two characters from a string in bash.

@minx yeah! especially stuff that sounds obvious like "how do I do a foreach loop in Javascript) 'cause it's completely not obvious

argh I terminated a double quote string with a right paren maybe I'm not awake yet

This is true for many many technical professions.

@Nobilis @minx There’s that famous Einstein quote:

“I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book.”

That said, I think it’s worthwhile memorising (at least some of) the stdlib of your go-to scripting language, because being able to bang out a script very quickly is a real productivity enhancer

@cbowdon @minx

There's also a certain amount of information that needs to be committed to memory, which is required to be able to UNDERSTAND what's in the book.

@minx honestly I teach myself languages by reading a bit on the core syntax then looking up how to do things until the basics start sticking

@minx This actually makes me feel a lot better about having the Google search page for " bookmarked.




s/coding/{copyediting | lawyering | mathing | historying | surgerying | etc.}/g

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