Posts Tagged ‘why write code’

It seems that Ian Eure does not understand us1.

I like to think I’m well acquainted with human laziness…

Maybe apply Occam’s Razor and attribute it to something other than laziness? Even better, trying to look at it from my point of view instead of your own.

Let’s say I’ve sent you a hello world program but it doesn’t work. What do you do? Do you a) write to me and ask me for support, or b) write your own? But this is a bit different you might say.

  1. It is more complicated than hello world, and
  2. I should have some faith in an emacs core module.

Okay then, once I’ve noticed the error, what is my next step? Do I?

  1. Try a bunch of things, figuring that maybe I’ve forgotten to setq a variable or (initialize) something.
  2. Or perhaps I try and debug the module (because we all know that debugging is the favourite programmer activity)?
  3. Do I write to the module maintainer asking what the problem is, or do I
  4. Implement my own solution?

Does he seriously not see how appealing the final option is? If he doesn’t he doesn’t understand programmer mentality very well. At a stroke I get full control over how everything works. I don’t have to wait for someone to respond to me. I don’t have to find out who to contact. I don’t need to fire up my rusty debugger. I get to work on greenfield code. Perhaps best of all, it makes a great case study into how to use comint to interact with a REPL.

And what was the downside in this case? I confused someone I don’t know2.

…but this is a species I just don’t understand.

Hmmm… nice.

So. We can agree that:

  • The UX of sql-mode is bad.
  • Nobody has clearly explained how to use it.

Given this situation, I think it’s insane to say that the correct solution is to document how to work around the bad UX.

Actually, I don’t think I even agree with the first point. And to call documenting how to make things work insane? Well, we’ve all indulged in rhetoric on the internet. No harm no foul.

But you know what? Even now it has been ‘fixed’, I’m still not going to use it. Because I’m guessing he didn’t fix the main thing that I didn’t like and also it takes effort and mine works perfectly well for me.

Thank you to commonman for your comments on Ian’s blog, although I must admit, I’m strangely warming to his point of view after this post.

1. I tried to resist the urge to respond but could not. There goes the moral high ground. I really hope that normal service will be resumed shortly.

2. Just kidding Ian. I know you’re not confused.


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