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We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #76: Organization

day 76 - organization

Today is going to be a busy one. Not for me exactly, but my computer will be busy cracking away at the code I wrote. Unfortunately it takes FOREVER to run, but it got me thinking about MATLAB and how we write code for everything.  More to the point, it got me thinking about how I organize my files.

When I first started my PhD I was coming from an engineering design background. Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty good with Solidworks. In fact, if we ignore the robot I designed from scratch (all by myself!), I’ve also done some pretty interesting prosthetic designs from scratch as well as some work on the exoskeleton my current lab is designing.

It was a bit of an adjustment (okay a huge adjustment) to go into what is essentially data processing and signals analysis from where I started. However, that was the point, I wanted to learn something new and boy has it been a journey. One thing I’ve had to get used to doing is coding. I did quite a bit in my undergraduate program and a few classes in my Masters program, however that was all solely focused on control systems, a slightly different beast (although I’m finding a lot of similarities!). Organizing my files for class was simple, sort by class number, things are a little more complex now.

For my robot project I organized everything using a file structure that made sense to me. I separated each part into a main folder with subfolders for major design changes or major itteritive changes. This made finding the latest ankle design for example a breeze. Unfortunately I find that this organizational system doesn’t work for me when I’m working with code. Code is much more fluid than design and it’s hard to tell where a major change ends and where an iterative change begins.

Finding a way to organize my code became difficult because now each code did something very specific, I could separate them by what they did, but then each code would have its own folder, not the most efficient setup. I’ve started trying to name my files better with some success, but quite frankly I’m still trying to find the best way to organize my code library.

I’m sure I will find an organizational system that works for me, I just need to keep trying different things. As obvious as my previous organization scheme is now, before I came up with it, my files were a huge mess. Which brings me to my huge mess of files now and why I’m writing this post, organization is important and finding a way to sort your files will save you heartache later on, trust me I’ve already had more than a few headaches and I’m just starting my second year.

Maybe this is an abrupt ending for a post, but until I find my organizational system, it is tough to end this post with something more satisfying. I guess the takeaway is this, if you find yourself struggling to sort though code/files/etc. maybe it’s time to reevaluate the way you organize them.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!

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