Monthly Archives: May 2005

Don’t be a fool, use tools

Programmers with good coding knowledge are great, but programmers with good tools knowledge are greater. Combine the two and you got an awesomely productive programmer. Using tools the lazy programmer way is done in one simple way: to quickly reproduce successful practices.
As a programmer you are already using tool to code, such as Microsoft Visual Studio or Eclipse and maybe some others. But I don’t include those in the lazy programmer toolbox. Why not? Cause they don’t “quickly reproduce successful practices”.
Number one question is why use tools that can “quickly reproduce successful practices” ? As a lazy person, you should be … Lazy, and lazy people don’t do things twice. So if you did something that helped you perform better, be sure to do it again whenever it is possible.
If you’re an eXtreme programmer, you should already know some benefit of using tools (and some tools too!).

What, which, huh!?, names! names!

Right now, I mainly develop in .NET so most of the tools I suggest were designed to be used with the .NET Framework but some can be used with any language.

Those tree tools (or any equivalent) are the back bone of lazy programming. Plus they are complementary to those you should already be using such as a source control and a bug tracking software. Be sure to check out The Joel Test, which is a really simple and quick test to check if your development process is effective. NUnit is a unit testing framework, so use it to make sure you don’t write code to test the same thing twice and that you can run those tests as much as you want. NAnt helps you perform common tasks, its like a super turbo batch file written in XML. Finally, Cruise Control is your control panel, it automatically builds your projects so you can, at anytime, know if things are going well or not.
Sure thing is that they are numerous tools offered to programmers. One thing you have to keep in mind is to not integrate tools in your development process that adds time without adding quality to your product. If you’re gonna work, make it worth!

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What is a Lazy Programmer anyway ?

What is a Lazy Programmer you may ask. Is it pejorative, bad, an incurable disease affecting people couple of year short to retirement? Well, good thing you ask! I define myself as a Lazy Programmer and even starting a blog promoting my “bad habit”.
But lets make something clear right away. As anything in life you can have dumb laziness and intelligent laziness. Obviously here I’m going to talk about the intelligent one.

What is good laziness then ?

Lazy Programming is fundamentally a time managing style. Just think about the last long, boring and useless task you’ve done. If your a student, it’s probably the last assignment you had to hand-in. You probably already know this, if you’d started working on your assignment earlier it would have been better and you would have putted a lot less effort to it. Lazy Programming is based on this simple rule :

Do all the work you can the earlier possible.

Work ? Do all the work ? Wasn’t I supposed to talk about lazy programming ? Well I’ve never said it was going to be easy. But, the good thing is, we are programmers, we make programs to make people life simpler, ours in particulars. What brings me to the second rule, which is the logical continuation of the first in the lazy programmer world.

Do everything possible to not do the same work again.

Aah! Now that is cool! I hate doing the same work twice. So when I do something boring I want to make sure I won’t be doing it again. So I write a batch file, a little program, anything that will automate my task the next time I want to do it again. Note that term that I used, automate, here’s the golden rules of lazy programming :

  1. Automate
  2. Automate
  3. Automate some more

Your boss always asks you to do the fill the same boring document over and over again ? Automate! You end up testing your code more then you code ? Automate! You spend countless hours building and packaging the final release of your fabulous application ? Automate! Your girlfriend (or boyfriend) has dumped and your back hurts like hell ? Get some spleep.

In my next post, I’m going do talk more in details on how to automate and be a true lazy programmer.

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