From: Michael Daly [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:07 AM
To: 'MediaWiki announcements and site admin list'
Subject: Re: [Mediawiki-l] Any leads on a basic wiki setup-and-configure instruction
Sullivan, James (NIH/CIT) [C] wrote:
As the system gets used more and
then becomes a critical piece of infrastructure, management gets
worried, what of he leaves? They demand documentation, the programmer
laughs. "Its self documented!".
Anyone who's worked in the IT business for more than a few years has
likely seen this. Management is at fault for not making documentation
mandatory and for allowing themselves to be so dependent on one
programmer to this degree.
However, in the real world, management is never going to fund the
documentation effort and the backup staff. They are not going to take a
project that is inevitably late and over budget and spring for the extra
time & $$$ to get the documentation done.
Documentation MUST be part of any system that is
to be used by anyone
other than the developer. It must be readable and complete.
I agree. I fought that battle for decades. However, it just doesn't
happen in a world run by petty spreadsheet pushers disguised as senior
management. It's less likely to be done in a world of volunteer effort
where coding produces instant gratification and documentation is a drudge.
Nerds as a group have poorer communication skills than the general
population. You're fighting an uphill battle just to get them to learn
how to write proper English. I looked at some of the Apache code
recently, trying to understand how some undocumented feature worked.
The code was filled with variable names like: r, s, t... "Self
documented"? Yeah, right. They can't write, they can't type and they
can't spell. Hence, they produce write-once code that no one else will
understand without considerable effort.
One of the most abominable code standards that results in unreadable
code is the product of one Charles Simonyi (formerly of Microsoft). His
coding standards in MS software are crap. He is currently a paying
passenger on the Space Station. You don't get paid for real quality in
the computer business. But some get paid billions.
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