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Old 08-20-2004, 03:16 PM   #1
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What is a single thing or process that gives you the biggest productivity gains?

My question: What single thing or process (excluding your choice of programming language), all other things being equal, gives you the biggest productivity gains?

I'm very curious as to what you guys have to say. What I have in mind is mainly processes, not so much the tools. I'd really like to become a good designer/coder, so your input will be invaluable.

For example, at least when it comes to learning how to program, I've noticed that having a dual monitor set-up speeds up my learning -- I use one for reading tutorials/docs and the other for programming and trying the tutorial/text code -- alt-tabbing just doesn't cut it Having two monitors also reminds me that programming is a two-way street, so to speak; you must *read* good code, then *write* some code, and repeat.

Last edited by krystianownz; 08-20-2004 at 03:18 PM.
Old 08-20-2004, 05:25 PM   #2
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I'd say the single thing that gives me the biggest advantage in productivity is planning ahead. This applies regardless of what kind of program I'm writing; if it's just a little one-off script to do something quick and dirty, it's little more than a brief moment of reflection. If I'm writing something in the region of hundreds of lines of code, it's sitting down with pencil and paper, sketching visual ideas of what the program will do, or writing up a detailed outline about how the code should be organized. For something bigger, like a real-life application (though I've only made a few attempts at such things), it would probably involve doing some kind of serious software modelling using UML tools, and at least a few days dedicated to just thinking about the problem before any coding whatsoever is started.

I've found that once I have a good grasp on the problem, and how I plan to break it down into parts, the rest is "just coding" you might say.

On the other hand, there have been times when I sat down thinking I was witing a quick-and-dirty little script, and it grew and mutated into something that really would have required more preparation, had I done it the right way. Judging by the way Linux software seems to be designed and organized, I am apparently not the only one this happens to


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