It's nothing short of amazing how excited we programmers can get when our newly built program simply compiles for the first time. What a great achievement! It makes us feel as if we're almost done implementing that program.
Well, sure, a clean compile is an important milestone (one we are sure to experience again and again, as we apply fixes to our code). But it is also just the beginning of a long journey that will someday lead to our program being placed into production, which is sort of like being voted into the Hall of Fame. Real users will now be using our code. We rock!
You've probably heard sayings about how the journey is more important than the destination. That's sort of true with software, but also false. The only reason to embark on the journey is to produce that production-ready piece of code that normal human beings will use (after all, if you write a program and no one ever runs that program, does the program really exist?).
The journey from a clean compile to a fully tested and optimized program is important—don't get me wrong. If you follow the wrong path, you will never get to your destination. And if you take lots of shortcuts on the journey, the end point (the completed program) will be so deeply flawed that it will be rejected or, perhaps worse, detested by your users.
This chapter looks at several key phases in the journey from compilation to production. In particular, I focus on several different activities that every programmer ...