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Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb  (View post)

M M Norman [PersonRank 0]

Thursday, August 25, 2005
19 years ago

Well, that explains why I solved so many programming problems being somewhat drunk...

Am i Lazy? [PersonRank 0]

19 years ago #

Well, the article did amuse me somewhat, but i really dont think 'lazy' is the correct terminology for it...and dont ask me what is..too lazy to look it up. laziness would mean we would be satisfied with the ways of original programming technique and NOT try and THINK of an easier way out, because 'why buy a better blender when the one you have works fine?' So. youre more or less defining how NOT lazy we are.

i define lazy... id rather not think of an eaiser way, just the way im used to or first encountered..

*yawns* tired..........buh bye

Amit [PersonRank 1]

19 years ago #

Now I'll try to B'come a lazy and dumb programmer :)

Nobody [PersonRank 1]

19 years ago #

A dumb programmer would write repetitive lines of code, making the code easy to read and maintain. The jar file will be smaller and more efficient because compression will be able to reduce into less bytes than some complex group of methods, classes, and yikes, interfaces.

XGen Technologies [PersonRank 1]

19 years ago #

Yes, Lazy Programmer Wanabee it's just stupid, microsoft have no experience in enterprise search engines so they copy google – and yet microsoft is trying to buy google and destroy it! and the same for yahoo their themplate is practicly googles... maby google should re-resign their templates to something more graphical that way if any others copyed them google could claim copyright

Awesome [PersonRank 0]

19 years ago #

Excellent article! Really truly excellent.

Sean Hagen [PersonRank 0]

19 years ago #

Really good article.

I think that the problem that a lot of people are having is how their definition of laziness differs. I think the article is only applying laziness to one area of being a programmer, that is, the writing of the code. Laziness shouldn't apply to when you're documenting or planning. That is truly just stupid, in my mind. Laziness in coding allows you to write smaller, cleaner, more compact code.

That being said, I also think that there is another attribute that makes a good coder. I'm not really sure what to call it, but I believe what comes closest is being able to go into a zen-like state while coding. To be able to code and become completly lost in the task of coding is an amazing thing. I've noticed that I usually fall into this zen-like state when I'm working on a personal project, something that I find entertaining. That never happens while I'm working on stuff that has been assigned to me. I also notice that the stuff I write while in this zen-like state is usually always better code (works properly the first time, less debugging, etc). This happen to anyone else?

xxx [PersonRank 0]

19 years ago #

should be unlazy to find better way to do things to avoid redundancy and not doing copy&paste job.

should be smart enough to realize
a) not to stop learning
b) not to stop being critical towards his own work

Jed [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Zen state, yup happens to me.. sometimes i forget to eat and even resist to go for a potty break. must be adrenaline.
and after i code. i am totally exausted and irritable. but when i saw users actually operating my project its all worth the hard work.

atleta [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #


that 'zen-like' state that you're talking about is actually called flow. This is really a changed state of the mind when you focus totally on what you do (and this IS similar to the state of the mind used/developed by martial art practitioners).

I used to go into that state too, but unfortunately it's less and less frequent since I've 'become a professional'. It was quite frequent during the university years on private projects. I don't know if it's bacause I don't really have faith in what I do anymore or bacause we didn't have disruptions like e-mail and the web at our desks before...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

That state is also called "zone"...

Daniel [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Awesome article!
(this coming from a dumb, lazy programmer)

Thank you for the humor! It helped me today.

Mike Black [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Deep insight and great article. Which I had dumber people around me.

George Jonaris [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

What can I say? You are telling the truth which I have to deal with everyday. Your use of oxymorons has created quite a steer as I can see from many people comments. I think it has touched on some egos I should say.

Steve Conover [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Don Norman doesn't think Google's homepage is simple at all, and that MSN's and Yahoo's are actually simpler:

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Google simply puts on the front-page those services which are popular enough in terms of traffic to deserve it. I can't imagine Yahoo would get the same results because there's just too much on their homepage. In that way it's a portal and not a strict search interface. We all know it was Google's decision to put Search first in 1998, and that's what makes them successful. But there's nothing that says Google can't be a portal if they want to and believe it helps users. Of course they can, it's their approach. I know at least one site which didn't survive this in around 1998 and the years following: AltaVista. They tried to be everything at once, and lost their user base.
But Yahoo's doing better, we can see that. Still, if you want to make an argument in the style of "they do this on purpose, because every single link is relevant" you should show some kind of proof. Or else, you would say any sites that displays 1,000 links or so is "well organized because thhe company behind it is big."

By the way, when the author says...
>Take another careful look at Google's
> front page. Want a map? You have to
> click once to be offered the choice,
> then a second additional time to get
> to the map page.

... he must be referring to an older version, because "Local" is right on the front-page. Also, the site-map is in such easy reach – and is itself clearly structured – that I can't see any problems in reaching it, and secondary services through it.

Craig McCormick [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

As a wannabe 'real programmer' of some years, this article offers great comfort. I am lazy by nature and thanks to depression and associated issues, I am hyper-critical of everything that I do. Until now I have restricted myself to PHP, Perl, UNIX shell and other script languages. Many years ago, I was an aspiring 680x0 assembly coder on the good ol' Amiga and wrote several programs, releasing only one outside of my home. Why, because it was the only one that I was confident was as flawless as I could make it. This was because It was just such a simple app. The old 50Hz-60Hz switcher, with a bit of intelligence and after care.

I used to think that my utter lack of confidence in my work, was an indication that I wasn't really cut out for it all. Don't get me wrong, my programs were stable and did exactly what I intended them to do, no more, no less. It was just a slightly irrational complete lack of confidence in my own work, that stopped me sticking with it and resulted in me going towards what I deemed 'safer' languages. I've not created a vulnerability in any of my web apps, so in that sense, my confidence returns slightly.

This article has given me encouragement, allowing me to see what I thought were weaknesses, as strengths. I may never get anything finished 'on schedule', but at least I now see that it may well be worth starting. So, for my next challenge, I will begin learning C* (again) from the ground up.

Thank you.

On the Google issue, I can only echo many views already stated. Google have it spot-on and the world knows it. MS/Yahoo et al, are too diluted, too greedy and just way too over the top, to stand a hope of standing shoulder to shoulder with Google on search and maybe any other field that Google decide that they need to whip into shape.

Sumit Malik [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Very good article.

Makarius [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

geez – and I became a programmer, because I'm lazy.
Nice blog


Socrates [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

All I know is that I know nothing.

Mentor [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

dont get wrong of my name people call me that in some cases...

anyway i like the article it hit me that much to think and be a programmer ,even that im not thinking that im going to be a programmer :-)

Lindsay [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Thanks for this article. I totally agree with it. Being lazy really just means making the most of the least amount of effort. If I wrote it once, I sure don't want to write it again. And if I can make it as general and reusable as possible I don't have to.

Loved the tech support conversation. Seems like I've had that one a million times myself.

If you haven't seen it you might like Steven Krug's book _Don't Make Me Think_. It proves your points about the difference between Google and Yahoo and their UIs.

And extra kudos to you for including the reference to Scott McCloud. His book _Understanding Comics_ is one of my favorites!

Vimal Menon [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Hi Philipp,

You forgot to mention a different kind of lazy programmers... the programmers who r lazy to think (haha like me) .. I have seen programmers copy pasting a piece of code in same program just because they dont like to create a function (cos they dont know how to design the particular function or cant remove the error generated by introducing the function, or simply cant think (or dont want to think) how to pass the parameters to the function, etc), they just repeat the code to avoid unwanted hassles. How will you term such programmers?? .. they surely r lazy :)

(hmm .. not all lazy programmers are good, not all good programmers are lazy, dynamicity is the spice of life .. :) a programmer can be lazy and can also be (so called) "unlazy" at different times, still being effective.. :))

My thoughts... If u r static, then u will be extinct in the evolution process :) .. so be lazy and be "unlazy", be smart & be stupid, .... be a boy & be a girl (Oops!! ... hahaha)

Paul [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

My name is Paul and I'm dumb, just dumb. Being dumb is fashionable :)

pinoy-programmer [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Programmers are lazy?

Yes. Why do you have to do 2 things to accomplish one thing when you can do 1 thing and accomplish 2 things?

Progammers are dumb?

Nah, they are probably pretending to be one for some clients who doesn't pay well enough..

jon [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

i m laz nd a pgrmr

lestat_davao_programmer [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

hahahahaha funny...i am 100% convinced!

Exceller of i Dont think Tech. Bcoz to Lazy to do it. [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Nice Read.

It elegantly demonstrate the craftiness of men blinding people from the real truth..

coder [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

i never have programmed anything.

i have written code though.

geekenparis [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

I'm totally agree!!! [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

This was Digg-ed about a year ago, and received about 1,000 Diggs

Just Digg-ed the Comments – and it has received Dozens of Diggs

They really like your Humor Threads

Loiezar [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

A programmer who will reached his peak of laziness will soon realize that....

It would be better to stop making programs. Then find ways to hire someone else to do his job while he reaps the financial benefits doing nothing. Like all our bosses. Who above all, has reached the peak of dumbness and laziness and that is why... they get better sleep, better social life and better financial stability while absolutely doing nothing at all but ask dumb questions. :D

elguille [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

I think that a programmer "can" be a good programmer depending on how organized he/she is. He can have good programming skills, but at the time of programming, certain ammount of "hard work" has to be done so as to achieve a good user-end-result. Of course it takes a lot of work, but it has to be done. If it is not done it is because a programmer many times is confronted with many aspects that he has to deal and if he is not organized, the end product will be a bad product. There comes in the lazyness. If he doesn´t organize himself so as to not advance in developping at the same time all the aspects of a User Interfase problem (documentation, cases of use, design, etc) and moves on, he obviously will never end up with a good program.

What i can bring up new to the discussion has to do with "not moving on and being responsible" because many programmers are not organized, and they move on too quickly to get the skeleton without goint through all the aspects that have to be dealt with. Rushing up is wrong, and it has to do with a certain skill that a programmer should have and it is responsability. Responsability of not rushing up and not being lazy programmers, and doing not only the work they like to do, but the horrible work of documenting and writing down the cases of use of the code they are writing. Lazy programmers are bad programmers who usually are with the same project too much time, making a puzzle of it, and a fuss about it. But i define lazy in the sense that they just do a part of the work a programmer should do. If he is left like that, the software house is in big trouble.

And in that sense, a programmer can be a little big dumb. He can be sort of "repetitive working guy". But if what he does is enough in the basic rules of relational database or the skills needed in the project, he can be much more usefull than a "smart" prog. The smart one will probably "hide" all the underwork that he is not doing, trusting in his "well programmed code". Of course, he will probably be the one that understands that code.

Of course, i prefer a dumb, but disciplined, organized, programmer for most of big projects that deal with the complexity of an organization. But, if the project is big, a smart programmer is sometimes needed to hold in mind the complexity of all the project.

I think that both are needed. What i found over the years is that some people are "dumb" but reliable. Some are "dumb" and lazy. Some are "smart" but should not be let to code but they should be leading the project. I haven´t met yet any "smart and not lazy". Having both types, and if they understand that both are different and they both are needed, and that no one is better than the other (here we could enter the world of hubris, which i prefer for the moment to leave aside), we are on good wheels.

Sorry if i misspelled any word or concept. I´m a spanish speaker.

aym 4all [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

well... I'll solve problems on my Birthday....
nice article...

aaron [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

whoa, this was a good article. Thanks!

Joe Mordetsky [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

There is truth in humor.

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