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Member 1332500523-Jul-17 21:04
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Richard Deeming24-Jul-17 8:07
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QuestionOf Code and Comments Pin
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David A. Gray30-Jun-17 9:22
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David A. Gray5-Jul-17 16:02
MemberDavid A. Gray5-Jul-17 16:02 
IMO, old-fashioned != outdated.

As an example, last year, I had a changeset that included models, views, and controllers for two entities. A few weeks later, when I reviewed the code for another use story, I found myself scratching my head about why the view, which shouldn't have been affected by the changes to implement the last user story that touched these modules. I eventually figured out why it got in there, but I wasted a good deal of time on it that could have been put to better use working on another user story.

Histories were banned at the last two places that I worked. Instead, programmers were urged to enter dated comments adjacent to code changes. While this is nice, and I do that, you can't find them without searching the file for a date, and praying that everyone writes theirs in the same format. A history at the top of the source file is easy to maintain, and is discarded by the compiler, so has no effect on the generated machine code or byte code.

When I review source code that has a history, I can frequently confine my examination of a particular file to its history, because I can learn everything I need to know about it from the last entry or two. Working on a complex application that has many moving parts, changeset notes just aren't enough. Besides, they are not written until after the change is made and tested, when it's harder to remember why you changed each file in the set.

From time to time, I've brought some of my own code into a project, and when I've done so, the history stayed with it.

I wrote my first "real" program in 1978, and everything that I just said is the result of almost 40 years of hard won lessons, some learned when I stopped doing something that I thought was unnecessary, or had been superseded by some newer method that was allegedly better. I can't count the times that I've had to revert to my "old" way of doing things, because the "new" way was just too unproductive. Histories in source code belongs on that list.
David A. Gray
Delivering Solutions for the Ages, One Problem at a Time
Interpreting the Fundamental Principle of Tabular Reporting

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