“Programming is a craft. At its simplest, it comes down to getting a computer to do what you want it to do (or what your user wants it to do). As a programmer, you are part listener, part advisor, part interpreter, and part dictator. You try to capture elusive requirements and find a way of expressing them so that a mere machine can do them justice. You try to document your work so that others can understand it, and you try to engineer your work so that others can build on it. What’s more, you try to do all this against the relentless ticking of the project clock. You work small miracles every day.
It’s a difficult job.
There are many people offering you help. Tool vendors tout the miracles their products perform. Methodology gurus promise that their techniques guarantee results. Everyone claims that their programming language is the best, and every operating system is the answer to all conceivable ills.
Of course, none of this is true. There are no easy answers. There is no such thing as a best solution, be it a tool, a language, or an operating system. There can only be systems that are more appropriate in a particular set of circumstances.
This is where pragmatism comes in. You shouldn’t be wedded to any particular technology, but have a broad enough background and experience base to allow you to choose good solutions in particular situations. Your background stems from an understanding of the basic principles of computer science, and your experience comes from a wide range of practical projects. Theory and practice combine to make you strong.
You adjust your approach to suit the current circumstances and environment. You judge the relative importance of all the factors affecting a project and use your experience to produce appropriate solutions. And you do this continuously as the work progresses. Pragmatic Programmers get the job done, and do it well.”
An excerpt from The Pragmatic Programmer [Andrew Hunt, David Thomas]