On The Meaning of "Coding Horror"

In a recent web search, I found the following comment in a programming.reddit.com thread from eight months ago, completely by accident:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/12/on-the-meaning-of-coding-horror.html

Reddit is full of 18-20 year old kids who think AntiTrust was a good movie, and that Open source solves all problems.

Most of them are absolutely fools, happily endorsing both Ron Paul and programming fads such as Rails.

I’d IP ban the block of them if I could :slight_smile:

Wow, it looks like we are on similar career paths, mine just taking place 15 years after yours.

I work from a small company, about 20 or so people in the IT department, and I would have to say that there are no mentors for me there. In fact, at 25 years old, I was asked to be the mentor of my project group, a group where everyone has more coding “experience” than myself.

I too was enlightened by reading Code Complete. Not until I read the book did I realize that I was coding wrong, and that my code was horrible. I would have never read the book (which I have had since 2000, but just read it this year), had it not been for this blog.

I’ve never thought that this blog was some form of “programming gone bad entertainment.” Every time I come, I expect great insight into the world of programming, which is what I always get. Thanks for the great work!

Heh, I also thought this would be a Daily WTF kind of site. I am a CS student, too…but I find your articles quite illuminating. Some more linux stuff would be nice (you focus a lot on .NET, etc), but otherwise, it’s v. good, and keep it up!

“You’re an amateur developer until you realize that everything you write sucks.”

As someone who has been (in his own mind, at least) an amateur programmer since I coded my first program on IBM punch cards nearly forty years ago, this strikes home!

But on the other hand, I’m often well aware that what I write sucks, so maybe that means I’m no longer an amateur. Whatever the truth about this, I was delighted to discover your blog some months ago, and have gained a great deal from it. “Code Complete” is on its way to me from Amazon.

Hi Jeff!

I have started reading Code Complete today.

At our workplace a coworker bought the Code Complete that you refer to. It has many great insights, I started reading it but after reading some pages I decided to work on our projects instead. I thought that my way of programming was just good enough.

My style of programming is “throwing mud up on the wall and hope that it will stick”. On some occations, I rewrite the whole thing, making shorter routines, separating the code into objects and methods, and doing a better job than the first time. I just discovered that one of my coworkers who is also a programmer, also rewrites the whole thing to provide a more readable program, so that other programmers won’t get a headache reading the code.

By the way, everytime my browser starts up, it reads www.codinghorror.com/blog. It is my home page, whatever that means.

Whoa… deja vu. Didn’t you write that explanation already? For the record, I get tons of inspiration from your blog, because it mirrors my own geekery.

Within the partial talk of your development that to exceed in programming you have to acknowledge that your always going to make mistakes and compared to the next generation of programming your doing it the wrong way. I would tend to somehow agree with that. I’ve never seen a programmer that hasn’t not had the experience of trying to fix major mistakes that they could have done only the week before. Programming is not foolproof and never will be. The larger your program is, the more fundamental problems you may run into.

My advice would also be open minded to what your trying to achieve, and is someone else’s way better than yours? Programmers sometimes have the notion that their own ideas are the correct ideas, but often they are not.

“My happiness only becomes real when I share it with all of you.”

And thank you so much for sharing it, for it makes me happy when i read it.

Jeff, just wanted to say thank you for your work, your writing, on this site. More often than not, it’s enjoyable and thought provoking. Maybe “Coding Horror” evoked the idea of software train wrecks briefly before I started reading, but you provide SO much more than that. So thanks, and keep up the great work!


Your blog inspires me, keep up the good work and ignore the people that can’t see the good you are doing. You can’t appeal to everyone after all. I would kill for the audience you have, it beats my 3 readers, lol, anyday.

Keep up the good work,


Scott Adams (Dilbert) had something in one of his books, roughly paraphrased: “some people would say one out of five is a terrible success rate, I think it’s often fine because I know if one in five of my cartoons makes someone laugh then they’ll forgive me for the other four times.”

The mental economics of this works out because there’s a small cost of reading something mediocre. You don’t have to write top-drawer posts EVERY time, just being “good enough” is enough to keep your regular audience as long as you have some really good posts occasionally to remind us why we bother. The Internet is great for filtering this sort of thing.

Odd that people want you to basically be a backup DailyWTF. That name change must have really stung.
Congratulations on over 1000 (mostly) great posts.

"Didn’t you write that explanation already?"
Oh come on, what kind of sad loser would find this blog for the first time, and then read every post in the archive. Well sure, there’s me, but I’m “special”…

Cheers Jeff !

Originally, I began coming here because I was under the impression there would be WTF style writing and coding Horror articles, and I expected a few laughs along the way. Instead, I’ve gotten a profound sort of enjoyment from the addicting educational content you write and from the writing of the talented commenter’s.

Thank you for your blog.

It may be that many of us came here to read rants about bad design or bad products, but we keep reading and becoming humbler programmers.

the ‘humble programmer’ issue deserves another post.

Thanks and keep on writing.

Hey Jeff,

Its been a simply great experience by tracking your blog since over an year. I am just reaching my 20-s and your tips and experiences are already making an ultimate effect on me/my style of looking at a problem. And wherever I go, I share my experiences to my colleagues and partners-in-Projects. I know that these projects may not be of much importance, but, Experiencing early always helps later :slight_smile:
Really thanks to your blog ! hats off to it :slight_smile:


Hey there,

I’m exactly in the same situation as you were about 15 years ago. A young developer in a small company with no one to lookup to. So I’m following your advices and anecdotes here…your are somehow my surrogate mentor.

Keep this blog the way it is!

Regards, David

Wow, maybe I’m more professional than I thought.

I’ve been saying the following to younger guys in my teams for years:

“All code is #$$^, and you’ve written some of it yourself”