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Chris Maunder - Professional Profile



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Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs CodeProject. He is also co-founder of Developer Media and ContentLab.IO. He's been programming since the 80's and has been, in various guides, an astrophysicist, bacyard mechanic, mathematician, physicist, breeder of carnivorous plants, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP.NET, TypeScript and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, Old mainframes, new Macs, cheap phones, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He is kind to small animals and has a soft spot for cheesecake.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is obsessively into road cycling, physiology, occasionally snowboarding and rock climbing, and wishes he were a storm chaser.
31 Dec 2004 CodeProject MVP 2005

      
Articles 115 (Legend)
Tech Blogs 0
Messages 34,791 (Master)
Q&A Questions 24
Q&A Answers 88
Tips/Tricks 11
Reference 2
Projects 0
Comments 259

Groups

Below is the list of groups in which the member is participating

ASP.NET Community
United States United States
The ASP.NET Wiki was started by Scott Hanselman in February of 2008. The idea is that folks spend a lot of time trolling the blogs, googlinglive-searching for answers to common "How To" questions. There's piles of fantastic community-created and MSFT-created content out there, but if it's not found by a search engine and the right combination of keywords, it's often lost.

The ASP.NET Wiki articles moved to CodeProject in October 2013 and will live on, loved, protected and updated by the community.
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Member status in this group

760 members

The CodeProject focus group is an informal and changeable group of long-suffering CodeProject members willing to give their time and patience to discussing product, branding and marketing ideas with those looking to actually understand what developers think.

To apply to join this group simply hit the "Apply to join this group" button.

To seek the wisdom, guidance, and hopefully a little enlightenment, email focus@codeproject.com and we'll work out a time to discuss your thoughts.
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

38 members

Intel Corporation
United States United States
You may know us for our processors. But we do so much more. Intel invents at the boundaries of technology to make amazing experiences possible for business and society, and for every person on Earth.

Harnessing the capability of the cloud, the ubiquity of the Internet of Things, the latest advances in memory and programmable solutions, and the promise of always-on 5G connectivity, Intel is disrupting industries and solving global challenges. Leading on policy, diversity, inclusion, education and sustainability, we create value for our stockholders, customers and society.
Group type: Organisation
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

43 members

The CodeProject Authors are a group of talented technical writers who create articles and whitepapers for some of the biggest companies in the industry. Under our ContentLab.io unit we reach out to those who need content written but lack the time, expertise or resources to complete the work.

Looking to earn a little extra and get connected to, and be featured on, the websites of the companies whose technologies you know and love? If you can write well and are efficient with time then send us an email at info@contentlab.io.
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

85 members

CodeProject Advisors
Publisher CodeProject
Canada Canada
The CodeProject Advisors group is comprised of CodeProject members specifically chosen to advise the CodeProject on new products related to helping the community answer technical questions. This group participates in beta testing and feedback of products designed to help connect members with experts.
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

28 members

Advisory Board
United States United States
No Biography provided
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

8 members

The Insider
Publisher The Code Project
United States United States
Sign up to get the news you didn't even know you needed to know in the most valuable 5 minutes of reading of your day.

The Code Project Daily Insider keeps you up to date with what is happening around the industry. From the continue saga of the Big Boys to Scott Guthrie's blog ramblings and Steve Jobs' latest, you will find it here.
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

3 members

The Ultimate Toolbox
Web Developer
Canada Canada
In January 2005, David Cunningham and Chris Maunder created TheUltimateToolbox.com, a new group dedicated to the continued development, support and growth of Dundas Software’s award winning line of MFC, C++ and ActiveX control products.

Ultimate Grid for MFC, Ultimate Toolbox for MFC, and Ultimate TCP/IP have been stalwarts of C++/MFC development for a decade. Thousands of developers have used these products to speed their time to market, improve the quality of their finished products, and enhance the reliability and flexibility of their software.
Group type: Organisation
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

465 members

Chinese Forum Moderators
United States United States
No Biography provided
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

1 members

CodeProject Beta Testers
United States United States
No Biography provided
Group type: Collaborative Group
This member has Administrator, Manager, Author, Member status in this group

139 members

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GeneralRe: New Year, New Feature Pin
Thomas Daniels20-Jan-13 5:10
mveThomas Daniels20-Jan-13 5:10 
GeneralThe Ultimate Coder Challenge - Judging Week Pin
Chris Maunder2-Oct-12 10:30
adminChris Maunder2-Oct-12 10:30 
GeneralThe Ultimate Coder Challenge - Week 6 Pin
Chris Maunder26-Sep-12 7:15
adminChris Maunder26-Sep-12 7:15 
GeneralThe Ultimate Coder Challenge - Week 5 Pin
Chris Maunder18-Sep-12 21:33
adminChris Maunder18-Sep-12 21:33 
GeneralThe Ultimate Coder Challenge - Week 4 Pin
Chris Maunder4-Sep-12 17:25
adminChris Maunder4-Sep-12 17:25 
GeneralThe Ultimate Code Challenge - Week 3. Pin
Chris Maunder28-Aug-12 14:42
adminChris Maunder28-Aug-12 14:42 
GeneralThe Ultimate Code Challenge. Week 2 Pin
Chris Maunder21-Aug-12 16:17
adminChris Maunder21-Aug-12 16:17 
GeneralWhy Comments in Code are Critical Pin
Chris Maunder21-Aug-12 2:48
adminChris Maunder21-Aug-12 2:48 
Posted in response to How to Write Code Comments Well[^]

There have been many arguments on whether code should be commented. Here's my experience.

Comments fall into two buckets: Object and method decorations - those that explain what a file, object or class does - and in-code explanatory comments that appear inside methods or blocks of code to add explanations, notes, or to explain the non-intuitive.

Anyone who says that there is no place for comments inside methods is, to me, misguided at best. Code is not a literary work of fiction open to various interpretations. It's a precise series of instructions, and sparing, sensible, well-placed notes on what's going on inside a method can prevent disasters.

There are many, many, many developers and proscribers of dogma that insist that decorative comments are also unnecessary. The standard argument is that names should be clear, descriptive, unambiguous, and as long as necessary.

If we all spoke the same language, had the same cultural background, same experiences, same literary ability, and all wrote code at exactly the same time, using the same, precise naming conventions, then yes, good naming will solve most ills and decorative comments are not that essential.

However, we don't work in this environment and it's extremely short sited, and costly in the long run, to think we do.

A term used in one context may mean something different in another. A trivial example is "Create" which could mean create a new object in memory, or store an existing object in a row in a database.

A term used in one culture may mean something different or, in fact, the opposite in another. To "table" something in North America means "to postpone for consideration". In the UK, Australia and the rest of the English speaking world "to table" means to begin consideration of the topic.

While it's straightforward to use names that are more descriptive it's important to understand that ambiguity is often difficult for a single developer to spot. They know what they mean, but it's only after other developers look at their code that it becomes apparent that other developers may not. Do not fall into the trap of assuming everyone understands what you mean.

One solution is to mandate that names be fully descriptive: CacheObject, UploadToCloudStorage, DiscussIssue. This helps a little, but very soon you hit the point where providing an unambiguous descriptive name stretches the limits of acceptable name lengths. Steve McConnell writes that method names should be between 9 and 15 characters. Good luck.

Still, this doesn't help. No matter how well you name something, how consistent you try to be, how dire your threats are to other devs, you'll always have situations where you just don't know, with absolute certainty, what a method does. With no comments the developer needs to go and read the method to understand what's happening. This is a monumental waste of time, and worse: it's frought with peril when code is read but the intent not understood.

Another issue is parameters. While the same arguments for tight and descriptive method names should be applied to parameters, it's almost impossible to encode in a parameter name things such as restrictions on acceptable input values or notes on special value handling. Comments on parameters allow you to understand the results of suppling null, 0 or empty values, and to understand the limits of what you can supply.

My approach is you should be very, very careful with object and method names, and strive to be descriptive and unambiguous and have as your goal a 95% clarity on naming. That is, 95% of the time a developer reads a method name, that name is clear and unambiguous. However, the list of ambiguous names - that 5% - will vary per developer. That list of ambiguous names may even vary over time for yourself. A simple, clear, well-written, and up-to-date comment will solve this ambiguity.

The "up-to-date" specifier raises the issue of drift. The purpose of a given method may drift slightly from its original intent. The comment attached to that method may then be slightly (or seriously) out of sync with the intent. So too may the method name. To use the argument that comments are useless, and at worst, dangerous because they may not represent what the method does can, and should be applied to method naming as well. When a developer updates a method is it easier for them to make a note of any provisos in the method comment, or is it easier for them to rename the method, and hence the object's API? The method name and the comment should both be kept up to date. Developers get tired and cut corners though.


The way I approach software development is to assume the worst. I assume the inputs to my methods will be bogus. I assume methods will return null. I assume the database will explode in a searing ball of plasma when I run a query. I also assume that my wetware will also have issues and that, at one time or another there will be confusion.

The means that all methods and parameters are commented. This ads approximately a minute of development time to each method. It also adds a small amount of time each time a method is changed to scan the comment and ensure it's consistent. It also means we have a ton of comments that, 95% of the time, add no value. However, since the set of methods that raise ambiguity or clarification issues is non-fixed, it's not practical to simply comment 5% of the code.

While it's tempting to say "just comment the methods that need it", this leads to a slippery slope that we've seen in practice again and again. The test of "what needs it" is carried out by the coder, who almost by definition finds their code clear and unambiguous. One by one "obvious" methods are created without comments and soon we have devs interupting their work and that of the author to discuss what's happening.

The application of under a minute of effort saves 5 minutes of conversation and the inherent costs involved in task switching productive developers.

Comments aren't things that hang around code like bad groupies. They are code, and when the code is updated, so too must the comment.
cheers,
Chris Maunder

The Code Project | Co-founder
Microsoft C++ MVP

GeneralThe Ultimate Code Challenge. Week 1 Pin
Chris Maunder14-Aug-12 14:36
adminChris Maunder14-Aug-12 14:36 
GeneralRe: The Ultimate Code Challenge. Week 1 Pin
Lee Bamber15-Aug-12 12:26
memberLee Bamber15-Aug-12 12:26 
GeneralRe: The Ultimate Code Challenge. Week 1 Pin
Chris Maunder16-Aug-12 2:05
adminChris Maunder16-Aug-12 2:05 
GeneralRe: The Ultimate Code Challenge. Week 1 Pin
hisureshg15-Aug-12 14:39
memberhisureshg15-Aug-12 14:39 
GeneralNew Article Submission System Pin
Chris Maunder2-Mar-12 5:40
adminChris Maunder2-Mar-12 5:40 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
KjellKod.cc3-Mar-12 13:50
memberKjellKod.cc3-Mar-12 13:50 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Chris Maunder3-Mar-12 15:24
adminChris Maunder3-Mar-12 15:24 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
KjellKod.cc3-Mar-12 18:54
memberKjellKod.cc3-Mar-12 18:54 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Chris Maunder4-Mar-12 16:07
adminChris Maunder4-Mar-12 16:07 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
KjellKod.cc4-Mar-12 19:11
memberKjellKod.cc4-Mar-12 19:11 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
KjellKod.cc5-Mar-12 10:21
memberKjellKod.cc5-Mar-12 10:21 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Chris Maunder5-Mar-12 14:33
adminChris Maunder5-Mar-12 14:33 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Shahin Khorshidnia11-Apr-12 5:33
professionalShahin Khorshidnia11-Apr-12 5:33 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Meysam Mahfouzi4-Mar-12 23:42
memberMeysam Mahfouzi4-Mar-12 23:42 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Chris Maunder5-Mar-12 4:27
adminChris Maunder5-Mar-12 4:27 
GeneralRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Sacha Barber5-Mar-12 1:05
mvaSacha Barber5-Mar-12 1:05 
QuestionRe: New Article Submission System Pin
Jani Giannoudis6-Mar-12 21:29
memberJani Giannoudis6-Mar-12 21:29 

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