Coding and Holding The Big Picture in Your Head

I find that I am often unable to complete some piece of code unless I have a mental picture of the whole thing in my head. And this is a huge problem. For small things, it is fairly easy to get a mental picture of what needs to be done and my coding happens fast. But for something that is larger, requiring perhaps a multi-step process with things that can go wrong in each or all of the steps, it is much harder. I keep procrastinating for days on end until my puny brain has wrapped itself around whatever needs be done end-to-end and I feel that I will be able to take care of all the loose ends and all corner cases are considered — mentally. Only then can I start coding.

But this method does not scale and also it’s hard to give a project schedule and tell when you’ll be done with some module :-(.

I need to figure out some way of divide-and-conquer programming where I don’t need to have the entire thing in my head, but have just pieces of it in my head at a time, code that piece and be comfortable that the particular piece has been coded correctly — and that the way it’s been coded it will interact correctly with all the other pieces making the old adage of the sum of the parts being larger than the whole come true.

Oh well. I guess I cannot be everything all the time. Back to wrapping my head around this current problem…why is it that people find web-development easy and I keeping finding it hard and wondering why no-one sees that it is complicated distributed programming? That things can go wrong anytime and everywhere.

How do you deal with coding of such nature? Let me know in the comments.

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