Monday, June 2, 2008

Should you know C?

I've been enjoying the podcasts that Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky have been putting out for StackOverflow. In the last two, Jeff and Joel have been discussing whether it is useful for a programmer to know C, even if they do not program in C. Joel believes that knowing C, or more specifically, low-level programming details, is not just useful but essential. Jeff, on the other hand, doesn't seem to think it's very useful, and that programmers can better use their time learning the business domain of their applications. Of course, the fact that Joel knows C, and Jeff doesn't, might have an impact on their opinions.

I agree with Joel on this, but then I also know C so I suppose that's to be expected. Other people have made good supporting arguments, but I'm curious if the naysayers think that web application developers, or even web designers, should know HTML. There are plenty of tools that let you design a web site or manage content without using HTML, so why bother learning the low-level details of how they work?

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