Over the next 4-5 months I write a boatload of code for ByteStand. All the while having this thought in my head that my code should be bountiful. It should be pretty, but plump. A lot like those women in the Renaissance paintings from the days of Mona Lisa.
Plus, my code should go on for days, into the sunset. I’m thinking something like the opening credits of Star Wars, but the story just goes on and on into infinity. Once again, more is better.
And my code should be complex. As someone who recently didn’t understand a line of code, and now can code like an 8 year old, I feel like it is my duty to make my own code so complex that it becomes something I can barely understand. My code should contain lots of x’s and y’s, and when I run out of those I should get creative with xx, yy, and for good measure I throw in some z’s.
The more code I write, and the more x’s and y’s I insert, the more complex the code gets. Ahh yes, I think to myself, I’m doing GOOD!
Cracks Begin to Appear
But as the days turn into weeks, and I spend more and more time paging back and forth trying to find where I put everything I start to see the cracks in my well thought out plan.
There are many times where I think, “How do people do this? I can’t find a f*cking thing in here.” And after the 15th x, xx, yy and z’s I realize those make no sense at all. This x over here means one thing, but that x over there – does that mean the same or something different? Hell if I know.
And to compound the code diarrhea I’ve created, my app starts to not work. When I’m able to find the offending code and fix it, things work. However, that miracle happens less and less frequently until I decide that I may need help. My suffering needs to come to an end. I’m not giving up, I just have to read a book.
I try a couple selections, and some of them are as dry and scratchy as unlined wool pants on an 8 year old’s legs in church. I just can’t take it.
But then by sheer luck, and tons of Googling I stumble on “Eloquent Ruby”. It’s a well written book and sheds some much needed light on the subject. Some of the first lessons I learn:
Lesson 1: I’ve done everything perfectly backwards.
Lesson 2: Less code is better
Lesson 3: Simplicity is critical
Lesson 4: Say what you mean, ambiguity is a killer with code
Have I just wasted the last 5 months? F me, I really hope not.
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