Scott Hanselman has been posting a series for a while now called the Weekly Source Code where he is pointing folks to good source code to check out. Scott makes the following comment at the end of this post “Nothing makes me realize what a crap programmer I am like reading a good programmer's code.” And I have to agree with him completely. Unless you are looking at someone else’s code you will never realize that what you believe to be great code, maybe really is not. It is not until we compare what we have done with someone else, that we realize
I have always liked the analogy of programming being art and therefore a programmer is an artist. Every programmer brings their own style and flair to the design and creating of code. This is evident when you give 5 different programmers the same problem to solve. They will most likely all arrive at the same solution, but how they got there will be completely different. In my opinion that is a very good thing, you want to have diversity, not robots! And a great way to learn and grow your programming skills is by looking at the code that other people have written. You may be surprised at some of the things that you see and what you can learn. Plus I enjoying getting some insight into how a programmer approached a solution to a problem by looking at the code they employed.
So I strongly encourage all developers to make it a habit of checking out source code. There are lots of places to get source code from… other projects where you work, it can be from open source projects, third-party tools you have licensed, etc. Just go get some and start reading, learning and maybe even be inspired!