The deeper truths I learn in school, you never knew before

Draft of 2005.11.19 ☛ 2015.04.02

It is important for young industrial engineers to have the Visual Basic for Applications manual read to them page by page, very quickly, because they will need it in their work.

No real Web Application developers ever read HTML, any more than a technical writer would consider looking at the binary sourcecode of a Microsoft Word file. Web Apps are designed with WYSIWYG design applications. And Visual Studio.

The greatest benefit lies in first hearing mention of every control structure, function and syntactic fillip of a programming language in a lecture, then subsequently (several days after) working alone on homework projects. Only after you have mastered the correct principles of syntax and the IDE should you be introduced to advanced stuff like design, analysis, testing, and stuff like the real professionals use. Unfortunately, because of resource limitations, that material will not be covered during the students’ academic tenures.

There is no critical implication to be found in the fact that the University’s network administrators refuse—under any circumstances whatsoever—to allow Microsoft’s IIS to be installed on any networked computer whatsoever, even ones used to teach ASP.NET development. Therefore students should install IIS on their own computers, where they can take responsibility for administrating it. Actually, administering it is not a concern; getting it linked up with VB.NET is more important.

A team makes the best progress on a project when it divides the problem into discrete chunks, takes them off, and works on each chunk independently until the last minute.

An Entity-Relationship diagram drawn in Microsoft Word with the drawing tools is better than an E-R diagram drawn with a pen and scanned. Because it is easier to make.

Excel development is not programming, even when VBA is involved. Learning to use the Visual Studio.NET IDE is identical to learning programming. Testing is something that happens when you compile code, and debugging something that happens when you can’t compile your code. Debugging is best undertaken by some combination of (a) staring at the code, and (b) making small changes and attempting to recompile.

And perhaps the best and most appropriate lesson: If you don’t like the way something’s being done, turn away. If you meddle, you will only get recruited for a hopeless task.