Joe Armstrong on Writing Code

From: Luke Gorrie: Joe the Office Mate

Joe wrote amazingly simple programs and he did so in a peculiar way.

First he wrote down the program any old way just to get it out of his head. Then once it worked he would then immediately create a new directory program2 and write it again. He would repeat this process five or six times (program5, program6, …) and each time he would understand the problem a little better and sense which parts of the program were essential enough to re-type.

He thought this was the most natural thing in the world: of course you throw away the first few implementations, you didn't understand the problem when you wrote those!

I have thought deeply about this method of working and love it! It's simple, elegant and has made me a better programmer!

Published On: Tue, 31 May 2022. Last Updated On: Tue, 14 May 2024.