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Showing posts from August 6, 2016

There are two kind of programmers: Nihilists and Optimists

The nihilist programmer takes as axiomatic that their product is already broken. It is in constant flux, poorly defined, the product of compromise in design, and inevitably compromised in implementation. Even more, that it will remain this way, by its nature, forever. The nihilist programmer starts from these axioms and then decides what to do. What to do? The least amount of change possible. Limit exposure, limit effect. Get to the next checkpoint.
The particular medicine isn’t a bad one, per se. There’s value in those limits. What’s bad, I think, is the ethos. If a thing is undefinable, you will naturally resist efforts to define it. If a thing is forever in flux, you will resist efforts to freeze it. If a thing is composed exclusively of compromise, you will resist efforts to make decisive decisions. And if a thing will never be good, you will resist efforts to make it good.
In this sense the nihilist programmer ensures their travels on a dead-end road are as comfortable, and perhaps…