Do programmers copy code?
YES, a lot of Programmers copy code and they will continue to do so. In today’s insight, we will look at why programmers may copy code and how helpful or unhelpful that can be.
Programming for many is really a daunting task, whether it’s making a website, a mobile application, a game, a desktop application, etc. it is generally regarded as a task for the elites, the crème de la crème, the computer geniuses.
As a result, many people think copying code is cheating or a sign of laziness (reaping where you did not sow). But there can be benefits to copying code as long as you understand what you are doing, let’s consider how.
Before we dive deep into the benefits, it is important to note that some code is patented, protected, and not in the public domain. Copying such code in any form is a serious crime punishable by law, it’s a copyright infringement and you must stay away at all costs.
Writing code takes time, skill, and resources, this is why some companies will protect and patent their code. Code is an asset, a valuable one actually, code can be sold for a huge price, this is why you must not make any attempt to steal other people’s code.
This article only addresses and encourages copying code that is in the public domain, open-source, or code that is permitted by the author for personal or commercial use. I cannot over-emphasize how important that is. Thank you.
THE BENEFITS OF COPYING CODE
Copying code can be beneficial in many ways. Here are some of the benefits:
SAVE TIME: Copying code from other sources is a time saver. If there is a piece of code somewhere that does exactly what you want to do, it can really save you a lot of development time to just copy and paste it into your project, as long as you understand what it does and how it works.
There are many websites that provide working code for different tasks in different languages for free. Some of them include StackOverFlow W3Schools, TutorialsPoint, Freakjolly, Geeks for Geeks, FreeCodeCamp, etc. You can also copy code from forums, books, and Youtube tutorials.
Documentation remains the best place to copy code. Each programming language or framework has its own documentation that you can easily follow in case you get lost.
PRODUCTIVITY: Copying already working code can make you very productive. You are able to do so much in a short period of time. There is a lot of free working code online, it is so productive to just copy and paste than to reinvent the wheel. There is no need to begin to write what is already there.
LEARNING BEST PRACTICES: When you copy other people’s code and understand how it works, you will learn the best practices that other people employ in their code for optimization and maintainability. This, added to what you already know will help you employ the best programming practices.
CLEAN CODE: Sometimes, others people’s code can be clean and neatly written. You must accept that other people’s code can simply be better than yours you can learn from it. We have looked at Tips to Become a Good Programmer and these are some of the things addressed.
INDUSTRY STANDARD: If you stumble upon code written by a team of a certain big company, it can help you to understand the industry standard coding practices.
If you are interested in working for, say Google, you can find an open-source project that their team has worked on, copy it into your project, refine it and give it that google touch which makes your project industry standard and may attract the attention of big players.
GETTING STARTED QUICKLY: There are thousands of free templates available online for different projects and languages that can help you to get started quickly. You don’t have to always start from zero. There is almost always something for every project.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO MASTER SYNTAX: Copying code available online saves you from the tedious task of mastering syntax. You don’t have to master syntax as long as you understand the fundamentals of programming. The more you code, the more you will get used to the syntax. Save your brain power for logic, not syntax.
DISADVANTAGES OF COPYING CODE
As much as it is helpful to copy other people’s code, there are some unhelpful habits that can be developed in the process. Here are some of them;
LAZINESS: Yes, the more you do it, the more laziness creeps in, you may develop unhelpful habits copying each and every code you right, some will even copy the entire project without changing a thing and using it as though it were theirs.
TUTORIAL HELL & TUTORIAL PURGATORY: There are others who can literally do nothing unless they are copying code somewhere. There is nothing useful you can build if you cultivate this habit. You must be a self-starter and be able to do some of the things on your own.
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING: There are others who copy code without understanding how it is working fundamentally. When the copied code cannot sync with your existing project, you have great trouble and waste of a lot of time trying to find the problem.
PRIVATE CODE: Do not for whatever reason copy private code. As long as the code is not available for public use, do not make any attempt to copy it, even if you can see a vulnerability. Copying private protected code is a serious crime.
It is perfectly fine to copy code as long as it is publicly available and allowed for personal or commercial use. You must also try to write good code and provide it for free so that others can use it. Make sure you understand the fundamentals of programming and the code that you are copying.