dall-e generated image of a dude conducting a symphony of computers

Expressing Intent with Code


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Is software development like a horror movie?

It certainly can be. You can’t see what’s happening just around the corner, under the Line of Representation, in that sneaky obfuscated code that somebody else wrote.

Austin Parker has a story to tell about this: Deploying on Friday the 13th.

Spoiler–he ends with

Our goal should be to describe our intent through telemetry, then use observability to build confidence in reality.

Austin Parker

This reminds me of a talk I watched the other day, by a fabulous human, David Whitney.

David wants us to write code that displays its intention to the reader. Not code that follows any particular structure, but code that expresses its reason for existence in every character.

Spoiler–he ends with

Take more time. Fuck the deadlines. Take more time.
I finish writing whatever code, I put some music on, I pour a drink, and I read it again and again and again. And I ask myself, why? why did I do it that way?

Take 20% more time.

David Whitney

I used to care about code like that. These days I don’t obsess about it. My code does what I want, and it expresses itself through traces.

That makes the code more verbose to read sometimes, but it broadcasts what the whole software system is doing.

Instrumentation is the new intentional code.

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