Mike's 4-Bit Rules of Computing

Over the years I have found a handful of rules to work by when Computing. Some people have lots and lots of rules but I'm a simple bloke, and can carry only about 4-bits worth in my head.

None of these rules are my own invention. They are others' tips and advice, received and honed over about 30 years' experience in computing, since I began it as a hobby in primary school in the 1980's. Some of these rules are also applicable to Real Life. They are deliberately laconic (to make them easier to remember); I will blog about them to expand and explain — especially the controversial-sounding ones like Rules 5 and 6.

salt: These are computing rules that I work by and recommend to others, though you should feel free to adopt only what you like, keeping Rule 0 in mind.


0: All rules are broken — and some were made to be

1: The First Law: Nothing works First time — Peter Lukes, Amstrad Computer User magazine, Issue 32, September 1987

2: Don't Repeat Yourself (tip: computers are good at that…)

3: python <(echo import this) (Python PEP 20)

4: If you're exploring, keep a notebook/journal

5: Comments considered harmful (embedded in code, as well as those on YouTube)

6: but Doc-Comments are a Force for Good

7: Test it. Test it Again

8: You can't proof-read after you hit Send

9: These aren't the bugs you're looking for — move along (Don't sweat the email's details)

A: Fix Mistakes, don't break Promises

B: You Ain't Gonna Need It

C: Always know where you're going when you start writing

D: DON'T PANIC, Read The Fine Manuals

E: When there is no manual: Write The Missing Manual

F: Read The Logs (READ the logs)