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Keys to Programming

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My old friend Chad Amberg is an interesting guy. Definitely not the type to march in time with the popular crowd, but not at all “weird” either. I think he’d make a great NLPer. I should mention it to him.

Chad is a computer guru. Mostly Windows, poor guy, but he can do pretty much anything that needs doing on pretty much any system you’re likely to be running. He’s the one who got me turned on to OS/2 back in the mid-1990s. Definitely old-skewl. Especially when it comes to programming.

We NLPers tend to spend a lot of time on the “N” and the “L” but not so much on the finer points of the “P”. Remember that Richard Bandler was learning computer science when he began poking around in subjective human experience, and that one of Jonathan Altfeld’s more popular courses, Knowledge Engineering, is pulled directly from Jonathan’s experience and training in the modeling of human decision structures using the Lisp programming language.

I know that when I learned the basics of programming in Rexx, it helped me to think much more clearly about structure. (I wouldn’t recommend Rexx right now, though, even though it’s excellent; I think Python is much more useful for the majority. If I had it to do over again, I’d have started with Python.) Learning to write a simple structured program, even in a scripting language like Rexx or Python, is a tremendous gift you can give to yourself.

Chad wrote a short article today on what he believes are the Keys to Programming. It’s brief, high-level, good advice with no language-specific ideas… more like “how to think like a programmer” than “how to write a program”. He references an essay by Paul Graham titled, “How to Hold a Program in Your Head”, which is what we’re interested in doing, yes?

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 19th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

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