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  1. #151
    Quote Originally Posted by Protocol Penguin View Post
    Have you been formally taught programming at university before you started making stuff (even if years ago)?
    Nope. I did physics at uni and never learned programming at school(just Logo. Remember that?).

    I always found programming books slow(even the humorous ones) because you have to endure pages and pages discussing abstract concepts like integers and doubles and strings. Then you're usually asked to do boring tasks like manipulating data which are designed to cement those abstract concepts but you just get flashbacks to work experience when that idiot had you shredding paper and doing his filing.

    After the Amstrad, I lost interest in programming and enjoyed the hands-on stuff like fiddling with autoexec.bat. I have a short attention span, low motivation, a bit of anxiety and am bad at studying.

    Bearing all that in mind, here's how my first program went:

    • Our customer service department wanted an application that would create a file with names and addresses of customers whose orders would ship the following day. Those names and addresses are held in our company's SQL database
    • My manager told me to install Visual Studio, then he gave me the code for one of his simple programs that could be adapted to do what was needed
    • I opened the program in Visual Studio and tried figuring out how it worked. The program initially didn't show anything on the screen other than a black window(like DOS). I googled how to write words on the screen and found out I'd need to have a line like this:

    Console.WriteLine("Hello boys");
    • I managed to edit the code to get the data I needed from the database. It was scary and took ages because I'd only started learning SQL a few months prior. Sometimes I messed up and pulled LOADS of data, slowing down the database(great for my anxiety!)
    • The program already made a file but it needed more columns so I had to figure out which part of the code dealt with columns. It was something called a DataTable. I looked at the code for the existing columns and just copied/pasted it, changing the column names
    • By this point, the program was working but it crashed in certain situations. For example, it would crash when creating the file if it already existed. It would throw up an error and quit. So I googled “C# check if file exists” and added the code I found. Then I googled how to delete the file. One bug down!
    • However, the program would then crash when deleting the file if it was open in Excel so I made it show a message telling the user to close Excel. I'm forgetful so this error came up A LOT. If the file was open, I made the program keep checking every second using a loop. As soon as the file was available, it would delete it and make a new one with the same name
    • I started adding text feedback so the user would at least know what was going on. Useful info like “Accessing database. Please wait...” and “creating file...”
    • A few weeks later, the obvious bugs were squashed so I gave it to customer service to use

    I did find and start watching a free C# video course called C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners by the beautifully voiced Bob Tabor. He's great and his clickety-clackety mechanical keyboard gave me eargasms

    I never finished the course(attention span!) and felt like a fraudster, just winging it. I hadn't really studied and was mostly googling everything. I knew I wouldn't be able to do this from scratch.

    But I couldn't deny that I'd modified a program, made it better and now people were using it.
    Last edited by randombs; 24-04-2019 at 04:40 AM.

  2. #152
    Had my first experience of a developer who knows bugger-all about PCs.

    He couldn't get my program to compile on his PC and, rather than figure out what was wrong, he sat on it for a few days until our training meeting, at which point I had to sort it out. He'd installed a 64-bit SDK whereas I was using the 32-bit one. The compiling error even mentioned this but did he Google it? Did he bollocks.


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