Keeping a Programming Journal: Coding and Writing


When I was learning to fly, and long after I earned my pilot certificates, there were occasions that demanded I process what I just learned. Writing is the best way for me to process. When I write, I can describe something I may not fully understand and hone in on its meaning or relevance by choosing my words carefully.

When something isn’t working or when I know a procedure or behaviour is wrong (like not having a plan and landing long and fast on a short runway), it isn’t enough for me to say, “oh just don’t do that again.” No.

I have to tease out in excruciating detail what was wrong, how it went south, what could have happened and what should have been done.

After I’ve done so, I usually feel better. And usually because there was a lesson learned.

Patterns and Positives

Things don’t have to go wrong to make it into my journal though. Capturing positives like “aha” moments can refocus what seemed like a wasted effort into a more positive victory. Surely one good things happened, right?

Things I need to know more about can be captured also. When you don’t know what you don’t know, well, write it down, describe it, give it form so you have a starting point.

And so it will be with this Coding Journal.

Programming is not my passion. Making stuff is my passion. 

Pieter Levels, Maker of Nomad List


Programmer’s Pyramid: A work-at-your-own-pace overview of programming concepts.

Patterns and Positives: If you can’t see a good reason to keep a coding journal but still want to another person’s opinion, Amy Haddad’s post about keeping a programming journal may help you see things differently.

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