You are reading www.andreasboye.com, a personal blog about software development.

Document like a programmer

Software documentation is serious business. I am not sure exactly why software documentation tends to take a backseat to implementation, apart from the fact that many software developers simply prefer to write code rather than prose. On the other hand I don't think all teams need to have the same level of documentation, so don't take this post as a general recommendation to write a lot of documentation. But when you do need to write documentation, it should definitely be as painless as possible.

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The conventions we follow

I don't think programmers are considered to be an especially emotional bunch. But one thing that we can certainly be emotional about is the formatting and layout of code. My eyes bleed when I see an opening bracket on the same line as a function. My knees hurt when people don't leave exactly one blank line between two functions. But here's the thing - unless I am coding on my pet project at home, my personal preferences doesn't really matter. And as a member of a team, your personal preferences shouldn't matter to you either.

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Like a mason loves walls

I recently listened to an interview with a fiction writer who were asked why he wrote books. He answered that he wrote books in order to express something that he was completely unable to express in any other way. This immediately resonated with me, because this is very similar to why I write code.

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But it's just plain text

I always knew that there were other character encoding systems than ASCII, but to be honest I never really understood any of the details until recently. I know that I should. But don't worry: I haven't shipped any applications seeping with replacement characters. Just as most programmers have never used a rotation matrix, quite simply I have yet to write any software that deals with storage of text. However, a couple of months ago I was faced with my ignorance as my team were converting our first Word documents to AsciiDoc. I wrote about that too, but this post is about one of our small hiccups we had along the way.

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