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Reading source code is hard. This is mostly because the order that we read it is often not the order that we write it. The order really matters. In addition, the context and the reasons 'why' the code looks like it does is usually not present in the code. Version control systems do not record this order or context. They take snapshots. A lot of interesting things happen in between the snapshots. This means a good deal of information is left on the cutting room floor. Further, there is a narrative in our heads while we write code. This narrative has all the context and reasons why we are doing things in it. We almost never write this narrative down anywhere. We remember it for a little while but eventually it escapes into the ether. I am working on a tool that records almost all of the data associated with a programming session and allows a developer to tell a 'story' about what they did and why. It has version control functionality (branching and merging) but offers a more useful documentation tool than simple commit messages. People can use these stories to: learn about how the systems they are working came to belearn to be a better developer (you might be sitting three feet away from a great programmer but never learn anything from them, or you might be the great programmer and they never learn from you)understand what effect every team member has on the code For more info
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2012 on Learn to Read the Source, Luke at Coding Horror
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Apr 16, 2012