Take Time to Read Other People's Good (and Bad) Code

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How do we become better programmers?

I've worked with developers who have been programming for many years, but on inspection, their code is smelly. As a pattern, such programmers do not participate in frequent code reviews with new people, to get fresh feedback, and they do not set aside time to just sit down and read code.

Try it, over a tea break.

Ask unfamiliar people for examples of their code that they think is worth reading.

Ask people for examples of their own or other's code that is only worth reading for its smelliness. (Offer to share your dirty laundry with them, to break the ice).

Go to Google Code or SourceForge, and spend 15 minutes reading something that interests you.

Try "pair reading" with a friend, commenting to each other your opinions.

To obtain a degree in creative writing at university, students spent long long hours, for years, in writers circles in which they share their writing, and get feedback from others. And creative writers are required to read the works of many other writers, and critique it. We need more of this to become better programmers.

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