One More Book – Going Into the Tar Pit

--Originally published at Debugging My Mind

Another day, a different book, this time looking at The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brook. What a weird title might I add, which is also a pattern that comes into the chapter titles, but in the end surprisingly, they provide very interesting analogies.

We start off with one of those, how animals and beasts would struggle on tar pits sinking down no matter how strong or small they were, just like that, programming teams can sink down the tar pit of a projects work, may it be a big or small team, nobody is exent of the dangers that software developping entails for the success of a project.

Thinking of programmers, a lot of people think of the small team in a garage, developping a program, just like anybody can do it, why the need of big corporations with hundreds of developpers and employees. Well yes, anybody can make a program, but it’s the difference between a product, a system and a system product that marks the quality and trascendence of a lot of the results, each as much as 3x harder than the basic one. As a lot people like to see it, everything is nice and pretty until you have to document everything, explain every nook and cranny so anybody can get involved, and even making it work with other programs, this is what sets the difference to have a program become a system product.

So with this comparison of the normal programs and a programming system product, and how a software developping project is compared to a tar pit, why is then that so many people want to get into programming or are so eager to try it out. In my opinion that’s the most interesting thing presented in this chapter, why is programming so likable? even to someone like myself, who is majoring in software engineering, couldn’t simply answer that question in a way anybody could understand, or I didn’t have the proper way to explain it, and another way of looking at it, I didn’t even know what I liked of it myself.

The book here presents you the best description I’ve heard of programming, what is it from it that attracts so many people and makes it likable, what makes people continue and persevere even with all the woes and difficulties that come with it. Long story short, it’s how you are provided with a relatively easy environment to experiment, to let your creativity cut loose, and not only that, but the result being something real, something interactive, something that “moves”. It’s this end result that makes so much excitement for what you’re creating.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the book has in store for me, for I am one of the people that thinks the joys of programming outweighs the woes, and I’m excited to see what boardwalks will the book provide me to walk across the tar.