Hi Jason, you make very fine arguments, just a few points:
not your fault but I think we should stop comparing carpentry or bridge building to software development, in general. The cost of a poorly done wall is not the same of a typo, for mainstream software development at least and if it is, that's why a lot of people are working to develop safer tools (see the whole idea behind Rust)
some types of software development (iOS programming for example) are quite obnoxious to do without IDEs, or systems where code is auto-generated...
I hope desk checking does not pick up, for the sake of the environment. You can still export code in PDF and reading it on the computer or phone if you really have to.
Anyhow, I think your whole argument is about developing a deeper knowledge of how computers work and how software development works, especially now that Moore's Law is dead
Ps. prints are fine but we should remind people to remove them. I've seen so many codebases with debugging prints left in for production. At least use logging levels 😛
For what it's worth, I live in the northwest U.S. Forestry is critical to our ecosystem here, and it's an ongoing treadmill to keep the forests from becoming overdense. So, around here, paper is quite good for the environment, because it's a good use of a resource we need to heavily thin anyway! (An overthick forest is a burning forest.)
That aside, you can do desk checking without printing, as you've described, but I think it needs to come back as a practice in some medium at least.
Also, if you make a mistake building a wall, the wall falls over. If you make a typo in a piece of software, the results range from a minor inconvenience to a lost satellite, from a screen flicker to a catastrophic, fatal plane crash. We should NOT be downplaying the seriousness of bugs.
Now, that said, there are some differences between engineering fields (sciences) and programming (more of an art than a science). Where the comparison is apt is still in the tools. ;)
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