Things I've Learned

One of the cool things about managing a blog that talks significantly about code is the feedback that I get based on certain code snippets I share.

Specifically, I enjoy getting comments that ask why I’ve chosen to do things a certain way versus another. Some of these examples include:

  • Why have I opted to use functions rather than constants?
  • Why have I chosen to use a custom query over encapsulating some built in functions?
  • …and so on.

I think that for most people who manage a blog, they hope that part of what they write is contributing something positive and helpful to the Internet (this isn’t always the case, for sure).

Similarly, I think that people who engage in discussion via thoughtful comments are looking to improve on the original content.

At the risk of committing a generalization, this seems to be the case in most programming blogs. While thinking about this, it did raise a question:

What’s the top three (or two or one) thing that you’ve learned from people who comment on your blog?

Things I’ve Learned

For me, I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve had very few trolls and have usually always had a positive experience with people who take time to leave comments.

To that end, here are three things I’ve learned (in no particular order):

  • Testing and reviewing your code roughly five times before hitting the “Publish” button can do wonders; otherwise, the chance that you have an error in your code is significant and someone will catch it and mention it in a comment. This ultimately makes for writing more thoughtful code in your day-to-day work, too.
  • Everyone has a preferred way of doing something, and though one way may not be better than the other in terms of performance, it may be better in terms of readability. Readability shouldn’t be underestimated in writing code (otherwise, it wouldn’t be called code, right?).
  • Thoughtful comments are invaluable as you may be getting insight from someone who is far more experienced than you which ultimately results in free “tutoring” or education. It’s hard not to appreciate that.

Okay – those are mine. Your turn!


Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I find that I’m most successful when I write my post fast. Like a big brain dump. And then read it, and re-read it, and re-structure it to fit a logical format, in case my brain dump didn’t do that for me. If I don’t write it fast, I won’t ever finish it.

    And if code is involved, I like to try and make sure I’m giving the relevant code, not the surrounding code to the point of the article (I suck at that sometimes, though). I also like to have someone look at the code before I publish. And never be afraid to edit it and fix it based on comments and feedback to the post.

    But the most important thing is to hit publish : )

    • I also think writing really fast helps a lot. Actually, Mark Levy has a whole book on this technique (Accidental Genius), the idea is to just keep writing for a certain amount of time, without a break. Even if you don’t have a developed thought in your head, write anything until it comes.

      Then coming back to what you wrote and refining it is easier, now that you have written that much, you can’t leave it unpublished :)

    • I think that’s a good strategy – I work in somewhat of a similar fashion where an idea comes, then I quickly jot down several bullet points.

      When the time comes for me to draft a post about it, I then go through and expound on those points.

      As far as code is concerned, I’m with you. I leave out a lot of context but try to make sure comments make up for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In the cases where it doesn’t, I wait for comments and try to respond accordingly.

  2. The hardest lesson I’ve learned about blogging is blogging… It’s very difficult to find things worth writing about and to continue despite little to no positive reinforcement. In spite all of this, forcing yourself to do it anyway is a pretty huge lesson and transferable elsewhere.

    Speaking of which… Where do you find inspiration from to write? Do you browse any sites like Quora or StackOverflow to get a sense of what’s popular, etc?

    • I don’t really browse many sites for inspiration – most of it comes from my own opinions and experience on project.

      I see it a lot like a muscle that the more often you work it out, the easier it is to use it.

      Based on the comments on this post, I’m actually about to start a short series on blogging and am thinking of including a “podcast miniseries” about it, too.

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