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Do. Not. Optimize.

You've probably heard this quote before:
Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
 - Tony Hoare
Speculative optimization is always wasted time.  In the absence of an actual performance problem, you're just burning time that could be better spent on refactoring your code to make it clearer.  This is exacerbated because performance-optimized code is usually harder to read than code which hasn't received such treatment.

Here is what you're doing when you optimize:
Adding code that now must be maintained.Obfuscating the existing code.Spending time writing code that doesn't add value. But what's that you say?  You have the experience and know-how to decide when optimization is needed?  Maybe, but probably not.   The people at Sun and Oracle may or may not be smarter than  you or me, but they certainly know more about optimizing Java bytecode than we do.

For example, some people think that having a large number of classes is slower than the alternative.  This …

Developer Skills: Drawing

You aren't a good developer if you can't draw. Fortunately, if you're a human, you can.  Drawing isn't an inborn talent, it's a technical skill that can be learned.  Write the previous sentence on a piece of paper to prove it to yourself.



There.  You just drew a whole bunch of letters quickly and (hopefully) legibly.  Words are a complex set of shapes that need to be drawn in a particular sequence to have meaning.  It's the same basic skill you use when drawing non-character shapes.

Drawing isn't a binary skill that you either have or do not have.  It's a continuum, and even at the shallow end (people with barely-legible handwriting), you have enough of it to communicate ideas visually.

So that changes the top line of this post to:
You aren't a good developer if you don't draw. Visual communication is much more powerful than text.  (This study found 65% retention over 3 days for images vs text.)  We also absorb visual information much faster th…