It is a bit special with the developers’ language that can offer both advanced technical concepts and difficult-to-understand hoses, sometimes combined in the same expression. And not least on a lot of ambiguities.
To have a chance to understand what the developer really means when he, or she, opens his mouth, it is important to read on. Here you get help from CIO.com who takes a closer look at the developer talk.
Hope is the last thing that abandons man. When a developer says that a new feature is easy to fix, people are probably not lying. The developer really believes, or hopes, that it will be easy. But a lot of things can go wrong, like the network, the database or the computers. And many develop are optimistic about, or beyond, the limit of stupidity.
Anyway, “one week” really works “and month”, or maybe even “six weeks”.
This is actually something that sorts standard measurements for time estimates. Like “a week”, it has nothing to do with reality. The degree of error is about the same for “one month” as for “one week”. Expect a factor of between four and six.
If the developer talks about something taking “a year”, it no longer has time to do. They really mean that there is something they do not want to do. It may be necessary to learn something or teach me something. They may have to negotiate with a team in another department. They can not claim that the task is impossible, because someone else actually manages to solve it. It’s smarter to make it look like it’s stupid to try to solve it.
One of the most famous examples of style fascism in programming is the “AirBnB Style Guide for Node.JS”. There you can find, for example rule 19.4 which says that you should have spaces both before and after a plus sign. Incidentally, a completely obvious style rule, if you ask the undersigned. And yes, the rules have both numbers and subnumbers.
Given the attitude that some believe Airbnb even has other rules, such as tax laws, it’s interesting to take programming style so seriously.
The general problem is not that the programmer has to write about how to write code, even if there is a lot of different schools. There are problems when they try to force their opinions on other programmers, which inevitably leads to conflicts between different groups. The acts of war can be expressed in passive-aggressive remarks in emails that certain spellings “are not standard”. It really means “we do right and you do wrong”.
As an outsider, you can often ignore developments that discuss “style”. If they talk about a real problem, like integration, they will never talk about style.
“Best tool for the job”
Developers spend a lot of time learning all the details about certain languages and technical environments. That’s just what makes it valuable. If they say that X is better than Y for a certain purpose, it is probably as a result of a choice they made a long time ago.
The best thing you can do as a technical uninitiated is to agree. It probably does not matter so much which solution you offer. Most modern languages and platforms are fairly equivalent.
A programmer who says that “refactoring” is needed means that the code for a software needs to be rewritten in some way, or some. You will never, or rarely, hear a programmer say that “I have to fix mistakes I made” or “I need to rebuild applications properly”, even if that’s what it’s really about.
“Refactoring” sounds cooler.
The article was previously published in August 2018