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That is because most of them are based on religious beliefs that have been preached by some guru and then they are repeated without knowing why or in wich cases this dogma can be applied. Usually the recitation of a dogma is followed by an appeal to authority. Guru Whatshisface said so, so it must be true.
I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them were cats.
His last invention was an evil Lasagna. It didn't kill anyone, and it actually tasted pretty good.
Now I find myself stuck a lot of times on design decisions
also a single dev for quite some time now...
I find the best approach to design is to find a user and look at the way/order they get the information, (if they have forms follow those - but if the forms don't match the order information comes don't be afraid to adjust to the latter - they'll love that) - the design fixes itself.
as to 'pretty' I've got the artistic abilities of a blind 1 legged frog - following the info/form also helps: users appreciate familiarity and ligical/actual information flow over flowers and lava lamp effects.
OTOH for procedural/processing problems I personally found the best approach is to walk away and do something else completely different, make a sandwich, fix the bike, ride the bike, sew the hole that appeared in the crotch of my pants, mop/vacuum the floor (joy of working at home while other half works in an office)
... the [best] answer often appears out of nowhere... bit of mental case testing ... that's it
I've solved more of my toughest "problems" away from the computer than at the keyboard (to easy to keep doing quick 'try this...no, try this... no, try this... no, try that again...' round and round.
walk away ...first thing when sit back down: chicken scratch that idea before it evaporates when working in the small details.
I find the best approach to design is to find a user and look at the way/order they get the information
Definitely when that's an option. However, these days I'm making stuff like parser generators and regular expression engines - my target is other developers!
OTOH for procedural/processing problems I personally found the best approach is to walk away and do something else completely different, make a sandwich, fix the bike, ride the bike, sew the hole that appeared in the crotch of my pants
Relatable, though I couldn't sew even at gunpoint.
When I was growin' up, I was the smartest kid I knew. Maybe that was just because I didn't know that many kids. All I know is now I feel the opposite.
The last time I had a chance to work with other programmers, they told me I had to wear a tie.
I told them they needed to decide whether they needed their problem solved or needed someone with a tie, because any Joe off the street with a tie would be cheaper than me.
I guess they couldn't find a guy with a tie because about 2 weeks later they called, I wore my shorts and T shirt and got their issu fixed. In deference to them, I did wear a t-shirt with a tie pictured on it. Their programmers left me alone and I explained to them what I did afterward.
CQ de W5ALT
Walt Fair, Jr.PhD P. E. Comport Computing Specializing in Technical Engineering Software