In programming school, you worked on throwaway programs, used once for your education. Your tests simply allowed your teacher to evaluate your work. When youre on the job, however, the programs you write are expected to drive the corporations business processes and provide the company with a competitive edge and happy, efficient end users.
Some of the programs that I and other programmers have written have been used in production for twenty-five years or more; theyve been executed millions of times. A typical production program will be used for at least several years , and over its lifetime, it will be maintained and enhanced by many programmers. Therefore, the first requirement in corporate production programming is a sound design. Follow that with accurate and precise programming, testing, implementation, and support of the business function or project.
I go to almost any length to document my source programs accurately and precisely with comments (non-executable statements) so that the programmers who follow me will find it easy to understand the program objectives, processing flow, and functions of the blocks of code in the program. The end user never sees this extra effort, but the success of the many programmers who will follow me in maintaining the program often depends on it. When I see few or no comments in a complex program, or misspelled wordsor, even worse , incorrect documentation and dead (obsolete, unused) code, I am immediately wary of the quality of this programmers executable source statements, and that calls his programming ability into question.