Good Programming Groups

by chromatic

A recent thread on the Portland Perl Mongers list asked the question "Why, if good programming practices are well-described and well known, do so many programmers and shops not follow The Rules?"

Several people responded, and we each have our opinions. After detouring through a clever (read trick) question about efficiency, one member floated an interesting proposal.

Why not get together, read a good book (like Andy and Dave's The Pragmatic Programmer), and discuss a section or two? A small group of working and hobbyist coders would have time to do some code review and to share real-world experiences.

I've long argued that most professional software development lacks any kind of mentoring. Open source development (and not just Free Software development) can provide some of that -- but we don't go far enough.

I'm not sure what's holding us back. Maybe it's the general lack of discipline (as kicked off the thread). Maybe it's cultural, based on a cowboy-frontier ethic. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding intellectual property and idea ownership makes things tense.

Whatever the case, it's nice to see that others recognize the need to improve the nature of software development and to discuss things as peers. Hopefully this idea will work out.

Are you involved in peering or mentoring? What's your experience?


2002-10-01 13:37:03
Pragmatic Practitioner groups
Since you mentioned "The Pragmatic Programmer" ...

There are now four "Pragmatic Practitioner" groups in different cities (Dallas, Oslo, Portland, and Raleigh), loosely affiliated through Dave and Andy's Pragmatic Programmer website. They aren't necessarily study groups for the book; rather, they're developer groups that buy into the book's philosophy that fundamental skills are crucial, and it's more important to be a good programmer than to be a good Java, Perl, C++, Windows, Unix, or programmer.

As I said, the affiliation is loose. Dave and Andy provide space on their Wiki to coordinate things. Check it out here:

2002-10-02 09:45:54
Pragmatic Practitioner groups

Thanks for the reply!

I'd forgotten about the Pragmatic Practitioners, but had run across that link in the past. As usual, Andy and Dave are several steps ahead. I'll pass it on to the reading group.