Antirez weblog

antirez 606 days ago.
One thing, more than everything else, keeps me focused while programming: never interrupt the flow.

If you ever wrote some complex piece of code you know what happens after some time: your mental model of the software starts to be very complex with different ideas nested inside other ideas, like the structure of your program is, after all.

So while you are writing this piece of code, you realize that because of it you need to do that other change. Something like "I'm freeing this object here, but it's connected to this two other objects and I need to do this and that in order to ensure consistent state".

The worst thing you can do is to interrupt what you are currently doing in order to fix the new problem. Instead just write freeMyObject() and don't care, but at the same time, open a different editor, and write:

* freeMyObject() should make sure to remove references from XYZ bla bla bla.

When you finished with the current function / task / whatever, re-read your notes and implement what is possible to implement. You'll get new ideas or new things to fix, use the same trick again, and log your ideas without interrupting the flow.

In this way parts of the program make sense, individually. You can address the other parts later. This is 100 times better than nested-thinking, where you need to stop, do another task, and return back. Humans don't have stack frames.

For my log I use Evernote because the log needs to have one characteristic: No save, No filenames, Nothing more than typing something. Evernote will save it for you, and is a different physical interface compared to your code editor. This in my experience improves the 2 seconds switch you need to log.

After some time your log starts to be long. When you realize most of it feels old as your code base and your idea of the system evolved, trace a like like this:

-------------------- OLD STUFF ---------------------

And continue logging again. From time to time however, re-read your old logs. You may find some gems.
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