diary at Telent Netowrks

Everyone knows that accountancy is dull#

Tue, 26 Feb 2002 11:47:08 +0000

Everyone knows that accountancy is dull. That notwithstanding, writing Rosemary (working title for my bookkeeping system which is clearly not Sage) over the last few days has been real fun. It's a rare opportunity to write a real Lisp program without having to worry about whether it will run on clisp.

The magic part of programming is when you make a change, run it, and see it do something that it didn't last time. All the specifications and test cases in the world are just nowhere near as compelling as actual running code. Programming. It's Better than Text.

This instant gratification is one of the reasons that I like Lisp: I can write a function and call it. No test harnesses or stubs, no compilation waits, no having to restart the session from the beginning and go through all the same steps as last time to recreate the bug. Interactive development is the future (and the present, and for some lucky people that never shut up about it, also the distant past)

And if it doesn't work, or it's ugly (and the first few drafts probably will be, unless you're superhuman), or you see a better way to do it - you revise it. This is reason #2: Lisp does not get in your way when you change your mind after the fact - and when you learn to relax and take advantage of that, instead of feeling guilty for not getting it right the first time, that's when you start to Win Big.

Here endeth the lesson. I'll save the lectures on macros and CLOS for another time.