Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:What makes an engineer in the US? (Score 2) 397

On the other hand, even without a government seal of approval, there are highly-skilled programmers in the world who have written lots of important and well-respected code that runs critical systems and does it very well. These are clearly worth of the name software engineer. The same applies to certain people who do software architecture, and deserve the label software architect.

So it's not that software engineering doesn't exist, or isn't a valid title, the only issue is that there's no defined standard by which to judge whether an individual merits the label.

Comment Re:I'll document it tomorrow (Score 1) 397

and "anybody can understand this by just looking at it, it doesn't need to be explained."

I beg to differ with this one. Code can be so clear and readable that no further documentation is required. It's just that writing such code is hard work, and never happens by accident.

After your code is complete, all tests pass, etc., take another pass and look for anything that isn't clear. Whenever you find a section that seems to benefit from an explanatory comment, try to rewrite it so that the comment is no longer needed. In many cases, this is as simple as moving the bit of code to a well-named function -- essentially you're replacing the comment with the function name. In other cases, renaming variables, or introducing new variables explicitly so that you can provide them with good names does the job. In other cases reordering/restructuring the code so that it has a more linear progression, and addresses subproblems in a logical and consistent way is needed. And sometimes, at the end of all that, there's some part that just requires a comment. In that case, add it, but only after exhausting all other options.

Then, let the code alone and do the same thing again tomorrow when your eyes are fresh. Then get a peer to review it (you're doing code reviews anyway, right?), and get their suggestions as to what isn't clear and obvious. Along the way, keep an eye out for bits of code that are clarified only by function and variable names, and look for ways to ensure that the function can't easily be changed in ways that invalidate the chosen names. Rinse, repeat until you reach the point that no more improvements can be found.

If this sounds like a lot more work than just writing an explanatory comment, you're damned right it is. But it's also much better, because, other than docsctrings, which are great, comments are evil. Over time, code evolves and comments tend not to get updated. I'd much rather maintain hard-to-read code with no comments than hard-to-read code with comments that are wrong. And in easy-to-read code, comments are pointless at best and a waste of time at worst, because experienced developers know that you can't just trust that the comment is correct, you also have to read the code.

Comment Re:I think (Score 1) 37

Thankfully the URL is easy to remember... just like images.google.com.

It's kind of amusing searching for keywords that you wouldn't expect to show up on a NASA image search. For example, I found a Native-American juggling hoops, old ladies line dancing at a farmers' market, kids dressed as Men in Black dancing underneath the Shuttle Endeavour, people using the primary mirror of James Webb to take selfies, actress Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) singing, NASA's hip-hop dance team Forces In Motion (travels around middle schools teaching Newton's laws), James Ingram singing "I believe I can fly" in front of Bill Nye, NASA administrator Dan Goldin laughing with (hopefully not at) a "bubble boy" in a protective suit, enough frames of someone testing out a spacesuit to make a stop-motion dance video, and a bunch of other unexpected weirdness.

Comment Re:Why no 4k footage of the moon? (Score 1) 37

What are you talking about? We''ve been sending some damned impressive cameras out into space of late. Heck, even not just "of late". Have you seen the HiRISE images of Mars? Forget 4k, you can download those in 8k.

Now, if you're talking constant live 4K video footage, the problem isn't the cameras, it's the bandwidth over such huge distances.

Comment Perfect timing (Score 2) 37

The timing on this is perfect. A group I'm in is working on a book and right now going through trying to get copyright permission on all of the images we want to use (and sometimes you can't get it without paying fees, or can't get in touch with the author). Having such a huge wealth of public domain images all together on one seemingly well-designed search engine will be great for finding substitutions.

Too bad there's no ready substitution for figures from papers, however :P For a nonprofit book a lot of the big servers charge around $50 per image. Which for a full length book (dozens of figures) is thousands of dollars. Most authors are very nice about granting permission, but the journals are all about cash.

Slashdot Top Deals

Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together ... -- Carl Zwanzig

Working...