Novels and programs (was: Re: [plt-scheme] Prereqs for robotic programming

From: maxigas (maxigas at
Date: Tue Feb 17 16:04:17 EST 2009

From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch at>
Subject: Re: Novels and programs (was: Re: [plt-scheme] Prereqs for robotic programming
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 14:30:22 -0500

> On Feb 17, 2009, at 12:21 PM, hendrik at wrote:
>> There are authors who cannot write from an outline.  FOr them, the
>> novel
>> is what they discover along the way while they are writing, and then
>> they have a *huge* revision job when they finish the first draft.
>> Others cannot write without an outline.
>> ...
>> The thing is, there are good writers in both camps.
>> Are there similar phenomena in computer programming?
> I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of "exploratory
> programming", in which you don't start out with a well-defined
> problem, but you go ahead and start coding anyway.  It can be used to
> learn about the domain, to familiarize yourself with a library you'll
> need to use, to rapid-prototype a user interface, etc.  In a sense,
> even DrScheme's Interactions Pane is an example in that it encourages
> trying things as they occur to you, not necessarily according to a
> prewritten plan.
> That said, "exploratory programming" can easily be taken as an excuse
> for "I don't want to bother thinking about the problem; I just want to
> see some code compile and run."

there was a memorable quote from last year's Chaos Computer Congress: "Hours of planning can save
days of coding." which was turned into the more head-on "Days of coding can save hours of
planning." maxime. :P


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