02. April 2009

The Programmer’s Reference: Looking at the Right Places.

This is a guest post by Binit Thapa, Chief Software Architect, InRev systems (http://www.in-rev.com/)

Anyone is a programmer in today’s world. Whether you like it or not, knowingly or unknowingly, you’ve come across bits and pieces of programming. Even if you haven’t made your hands dirty with languages like C/Java or Perl, you must’ve done some Microsoft Excel (VBA) programming or writing Ms word macros. Whatever be the case and your programming experience, it always helps to have a place, a temple, where you get help from. While this exact place may vary among us, fixing one always comes in handy. Here I’m compiling a few such places, the ones I loved, which I’m sure you’d like it too for the programming languages that I’ve used.

For Qbasic, and this is the first programming language I learnt, the best place I’ve found is its in-built help. As a high school student and unaware of the power and limitations of programming languages, I used to read this a lot. The examples provided there will always guide a student.

Next is C-Unix/Linux. The in-built manual pages is a very handy reference. Though it serves just as a reference and not learning or exploring new functions, this is a time-saver as you won’t have to open the browser and visit the web for such a trivial thing as syntax. Manual pages (the man command) is very extensive too. From finding help for the system commands to the shell programming (bash/ksh/sh/csh) do the man and find it out.

Perl. Once you learn this language, you start knowing the limitations of C. C is fast, Perl is easy. The Perl’s help system, the way modules are installed (perl -MCPAN -eshell), all these are unique and make it all the more powerful. For standard Perl functions and the run-time options, for the special variables and regular expressions there’s perldoc. Then for new modules (which you’ll almost certainly require), we have CPAN (http://search.cpan.org). Mostly written by the module owners, the Perl’s contributors are many; yet I’ve found it to be largely exemplified and serving the purpose.

vim/gvim. The editor that is lightweight and yet supports every complex operation to do your job fast. When you learn this, you know its “optimized for speed” for the same things might require a long,long time in any other “flashy” editor available (except of course, emacs). The vim’s starting tutorial is very good for beginners. The in-built help is very extensive but I’ve found it unnecessary to dig-in unless you want to become an expert in vim customization. You can open files across ftp and make changes as if its local, you can check-in and check-out files, you can run cscope commands, you can even compile applications all with this lovely editor.

Microsoft technologies (C#, VB, VC++). I’ve done little work in this arena but digging into MSDN always helped me a lot. The examples provided and descriptions given have never disappointed me. IMO developers can work even without an internet connection and having the MSDN provided.

Google has spoiled developers. Yes, it has got answers to all questions but its always easy to directly hit the bird rather than proxying through google. And if you’ve the habit of finding help in a common place, you already know the interfaces and chances are likely that you’ll look into the right places and find the solution faster. But for troubleshooting and quick-fix solutions, nothing beats google.

 

30 Comments

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1. Virtualization Made Simple From UNITED KINGDOM (UNITED KINGDOM) Wrote on 23. June 2009 at 6:52 am

Can’t seem to find time to learn some useful programming.
What would you recommend to somebody who has very liitle time on their hands, is ready to learn, just to be operational? Java/VB/C++ would do.

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2. Serkan From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 16. July 2009 at 3:05 pm

blog

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3. Googlemoneymaster From AUSTRALIA (AUSTRALIA) Wrote on 29. July 2009 at 8:52 pm

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4. Vb Reader From SINGAPORE (SINGAPORE) Wrote on 11. August 2009 at 3:48 pm

yes google has helped alot in finding the solutions easier, that made developers to reduce learning and copy the code to paste into the source code. but there are other benefits such as finding the right solutions for the problems.

rather than refering MSDN, i like http://www.asp.net.

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5. perdeci From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 13. August 2009 at 5:03 pm

great article, thanks…

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6. Diane From UNITED STATES (UNITED STATES) Wrote on 18. August 2009 at 7:19 am

So true!

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8. gizemli sırlar ve olaylar From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 09. September 2009 at 1:08 am

nice blog…nice post.!

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9. Berry From GERMANY (GERMANY) Wrote on 11. September 2009 at 5:12 pm

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11. Okey From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 13. October 2009 at 2:13 pm

thanks you…
Okey

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12. Okey From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 13. October 2009 at 2:14 pm

thanks you..

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13. Best Price Moving From BANGLADESH (BANGLADESH) Wrote on 12. November 2009 at 9:52 pm

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15. water pumps From INDIA (INDIA) Wrote on 23. November 2009 at 6:43 pm

“Google has spoiled the developers” is a wrong statement…
Why this developers go behind something that someone has already found out…They have to continue their work rather than utilizing the facilities that alredy exist

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17. Telecom Testing Training Bangalore From INDIA (INDIA) Wrote on 08. February 2010 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for sharking this information a very good article a very good place to learn computer language thanks
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18. Visual C# Kicks From UNITED STATES (UNITED STATES) Wrote on 15. February 2010 at 2:27 am

Good read. I agree Google as made it super easy to quickly find answers to common problems. The problem is sometimes it makes it easier to search for an answer than to take an extra second to think of a good one yourself..

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19. ghr1000 110.137.225.184 not found Wrote on 22. February 2010 at 7:09 am

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20. Sytropin From INDONESIA (INDONESIA) Wrote on 24. February 2010 at 8:47 am

Great post! thanks man.

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21. Diyet From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 26. February 2010 at 5:35 pm

Great post! thanks man.

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22. Okey From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 26. February 2010 at 5:37 pm

Yah! i agree this article that google help to make money through online.

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23. vigrxreviews From INDONESIA (INDONESIA) Wrote on 09. March 2010 at 7:16 pm

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Fivestar Tools Co., Ltd Specializing in manufacture electrician tools for crimping, cutting and stripping, such as crimping tools, wire stripper, cable cutter, hydraulic crimping tools, hydraulic pipe benders, hydraulic gear puller, hydraulic cylinders, hydraulic busbar processing tools, hydraulic pumps, network tools, cable tie tools, wire stripping machine and hose crimping machines. In China for over 15 years tools manufacture experience with CE authorization.

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25. College Reviews From PHILIPPINES (PHILIPPINES) Wrote on 20. May 2010 at 10:51 pm

This is good article so far. Its very helpful to those programmers out there. And now i know where i can find the Programmers Reference since i am eager to learn some pramming language. Thanks for this!

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26. Dinle Tr From TURKEY (TURKEY) Wrote on 26. September 2010 at 8:03 pm

very nice bloıg good post Ty 🙂

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27. Learn java From INDIA (INDIA) Wrote on 24. November 2010 at 3:13 pm

nice information and good explanation

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29. heyjoeno From PHILIPPINES (PHILIPPINES) Wrote on 15. November 2011 at 6:36 am

Thank you for this article! I learned so much about programming. Hope you’ll post more.

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