Skip to main content

Rob Pike's 5 Rules of Programming

 Rob Pike's 5 Rules of Programming

Rule 1. You can't tell where a program is going to spend its time. Bottlenecks occur in surprising places, so don't try to second guess and put in a speed hack until you've proven that's where the bottleneck is.

Rule 2. Measure. Don't tune for speed until you've measured, and even then don't unless one part of the code overwhelms the rest.

Rule 3. Fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small. Fancy algorithms have big constants. Until you know that n is frequently going to be big, don't get fancy. (Even if n does get big, use Rule 2 first.)

Rule 4. Fancy algorithms are buggier than simple ones, and they're much harder to implement. Use simple algorithms as well as simple data structures.

Rule 5. Data dominates. If you've chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming.

Pike's rules 1 and 2 restate Tony Hoare's famous maxim "Premature optimization is the root of all evil." Ken Thompson rephrased Pike's rules 3 and 4 as "When in doubt, use brute force.". Rules 3 and 4 are instances of the design philosophy KISS. Rule 5 was previously stated by Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month. Rule 5 is often shortened to "write stupid code that uses smart objects".

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Capture and compare stdout in python unit tests

A recent fan of TDD, I set out to write tests for whatever comes my way. And there was one feature where the code would print messages to the console. Now - I had tests written for the API but I could not get my head around ways to capture these messages in my unittests. After some searching and some stroke of genius, here's how I accomplished capturing stdout.

On working remote

The last company I worked for, did have an office space, but the code was all on Github, infra on AWS, we tracked issues over Asana and more or less each person had at least one project they could call "their own" (I had a bunch of them ;-)). This worked pretty well. And it gave me a feeling that working remote would not be very different from this. So when we started working on our own startup, we started with working from our homes. It looked great at first. I could now spend more time with Mom and could work at leisure. However, it is not as good as it looks like. At times it just feels you are busy without business, that you had been working, yet didn't achieve much. If you are evaluating working from home and are not sure of how to start, or you already do (then please review and add your views in comments) and feel like you were better off in the office, do read on. Remote work is great. But a physical office is better. So if you can, find yourself a co-working s

I was fat once! Now I run!

On Aug 12, 2013 I weighed 107 kg, which, for a 5'4'' guy, is 47 kg more than the Indian Army standards. But today, I weigh 82 kg, and I continue to lose a few pounds every week! At one point of time, running 100 metres would make me all tired and sweaty, but today I can easily run 10 km at a stretch! So this guide is for all those couch potatoes who have lost all hopes of getting a good body! I was at that stage myself. I know how it feels like. I know the bullshit that you keep telling yourself as to how you are not all that bad, and how the world should accept you the way you are! Let me tell you this straight! You are NOT special. You are just another lazy bum who wants things to change but does not want to endure any suffering! Or even worse, you are one of those who act on an impulse every few months. You hit the gym for a week and boom!, you lose it all again. The first step is to accept that you have a pathetic body and that this needs to change! Start Sm