06 July 2022
Dream.In.Code was a programming help forum that ran from 2001 to the beginning of 2022. It was recently shut down due to hosting costs. My participation in Dream.In.Code, starting from 2009 and ending somewhere in 2013, represents the beginning of my life as a programmer. Over the past 10 or so years, programming has become a huge part of my life. I’d like to acknowledge the role this forum played in my development.
Dream.In.Code has been thoroughly archived on web.archive.org, so I scraped the archives for my old posts. I was quite surprised by what I found.
I had forgotten how much of a beginner I was when I started posting there.
My initial posts
were variations of “I wrote this code and it doesn’t work and I don’t know why. Help?”
I could barely ask a coherent question.
Later, my questions became more targeted, like “How do I update all the items in an array?”
It was sobering to be reminded of a time when I didn’t know what a
for loop was, and didn’t really
know how to figure it out for myself.
What left an even stronger impression was the quality of answers I recieved. Every question I asked recieved patient, respectful responses. No one complained about my writing style (I was 13 at the time, and re-reading these posts caused some eye-rolls). No one berated me when I left out helpful debugging information like log files or compiler errors. No one made me feel bad for asking questions. I think this was the best possible start I could have asked for. I’m not sure where someone would go in 2022 for the same experience. Probably not Reddit or StackOverflow.
When I was learning to code, I had no one to turn to “in real life”. Posting a code snippet to a forum and asking, “pls halp” was all I could do. The members of Dream.In.Code turned that into a positive, constructive experience.