Fearless Programming

The first computer I ever got was an Acorn Electron - it ran BBC BASIC very slowly, and offered a dazzling array of 12 colors. But the best thing about this computer was the manual - I don't remember much about the later pages, but the very first page said something like..

No matter what you type on this computer, you cannot break it!

That was all the excuse I needed to throw away the manual and start making mistakes!!

Playing it safe

Back in the day, my old Electron was not connected to the outside world, or even any other computers. Chances were, I was going to lose everything anyway and I wasn't dealing with anything critical. Working in a professional environment, there are all kinds of opportunities to cause chaos and damage - so before you go crazy with experimenting, take a few precautions...

Work locally - you should be able to pull your code deck and run it locally against a development database.

Make sure you're on a repo branch - don't ever develop on the main branch anyway, but even more so when you're trying something new.


This is the most frustrating part to me - you've taken all the precautions, you know what you want to achieve - so what are you waiting for? This is where you learn the most - try refactoring your code for speed, or for clarity, or just to try out some cool new function or library that you just found. It's a great way to develop your UI too - changing CSS classes, moving elements around - especially if you're working with a framework that offers Hot Module Reloading - you can see your changes coming to life even as you make them.

But don't be afraid to make mistakes - that's the whole point of this - you can make mistakes, recover and develop something new very quickly.