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Example Code, Redux

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I’m still trying to rationalize the existence of example code. You know, the poison pills programmers copy and paste into an otherwise healthy body of software.

Sometime today, I was thinking back my first physics class, and of three key idealizations. These idealizations have helped students learn physics since the debut of Principia Mathematica in the 1680s.

The idealizations are:

  The immoveable object.
  The irresistible force.
  The frictionless surface.

Of course, nobody actually builds bridges or launches rockets using irresistible forces and frictionless surfaces, but the concepts do make the first chapters in a physics textbook easier, and we learn from them. If there are parallels to these idealizations in the sample code on MSDN, in books, and on this blog, they would be:

  The never-null parameter.
  The always-on network.
  The perfect string of user input.

We learn from them.