Solving Embarrassingly Obvious Problems in Code

Garrett Smith (Guild AI)
Programming, Tools and Techniques
Location: Portland 255 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 39 ratings)
Slides:   external link

This talk is based on Solving Embarrassingly Obvious Problems In Erlang, which chronicles the author’s personal journey to clean up his terrible code.

The article concludes:

  • You can write great code by whittling terrible code into smaller and smaller
    pieces, each obviously correct, by simply asking “what’s going on here” —
    “what’s really going on?” until you know exactly what’s going on, everywhere
  • Obviously correct code will generally have no bugs
  • Obviously correct code will generally not need tests
  • Developers who write fewer tests have more time to write obviously correct

This talk will cover:

  • How to spot code that needs work
  • What is “embarrassingly obvious”
  • The iterative process of understanding and solving a problem
  • Knowing when we’re done

It may sound easy: make it obvious. Turns out it’s not — it’s work. In
fact, making complex things simple is the process of programming. But the
rewards are well worth the investment: you’ll spend less time chasing down
bugs, your code will be easier to enhance, and your programming skills will
improve with every embarrassingly obvious problems you solve!

While Erlang will be used for code examples (don’t worry, it’s easy!), it is
not a language specific talk.

Photo of Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith

Guild AI

Garrett Smith is senior architect at CloudBees, a leading Java platform as a service provider. Garrett specializes in distributed systems and reliable software. His weapon of choice is Erlang, a high productivity functional language specializing in concurrency and reliability. Garrett is an Erlang instructor with ErlangCamp and the author of the e2 library extension, which was built from his experience teaching the language. Garrett is also known for satirical videos that include “MongoDb is Web Scale” and “Node.js Is Bad Ass Rock Start Tech”.

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Garrett Smith
07/23/2013 9:51am PDT

Thanks Peter for point this out! The link is wrong :(

Correct link:

Picture of Peter Clark
Peter Clark
07/23/2013 2:28am PDT

Hmm – the link to the Erlang talk results in a 404 error…


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