THE CODE ISSUE 25

August 3rd, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_025_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one might be another case of confusing the cart and the horse (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 94):

If you hover near programmers, you will hear them talk tests—the writing of tests, the passing of tests. Some don’t even program until they’ve written the tests that the code they hope to write must pass. This is called test-driven design.





THE CODE ISSUE 24

July 31st, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_024_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one gives us a clue about where coders go to find help (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 92):

Sometimes a request goes too hard, for example, calling itself so many times that the stack, which is a finite resource, fills up and can’t take it anymore. Hence the name of the website Stack Overflow, where programmers go to answer questions and help each other solve bugs. It’s the 62nd-most-visited website in the world, trailing Craigslist by a few spots.





THE CODE ISSUE 23

July 30th, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_023_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one addresses the painful truth of Murphy’s law (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 90):

Programming is debugging. It’s the expectation that things won’t work. This is not something people bring up, just like they don’t bring up their medical history on the first date.





THE CODE ISSUE 22

July 29th, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_022_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one touches on the prodigious consequences that arise from code (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 90):

In programming, there are as many ways to destroy something as to create something. One stray character is all that’s required.





THE CODE ISSUE 21

July 28th, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_021_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one speaks of one of the corporate underdog patriarchs of the coding world (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 86):

When everyone goes to Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco and they stare rapturously as some man in an untucked, expensive shirt talks about ‘core data,’ this is the context. Onstage, presenting its Kits, Apple is rearranging abstractions, saying: Look at the new reality we’ve defined, the way that difficult things are now easy and drab things can be colorful. Your trust in our platform and your dedication of thousands of hours of time have not been misplaced.

They’ve pitched variations on this annually for 30 years.





THE CODE ISSUE 20

July 27th, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_020_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one addresses the frustrations of how much code you create yourself versus how much code you buy off the shelf. It becomes an especially important question when your company is facing a major IT systems problem (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 78):

[The question involves] a way to use more off-the-shelf components, a way to buy your way out of this.

. . . Sort of, . . . but when you’re making a system that will integrate with the systems around it and your company is a set of such systems, nothing is truly off the shelf. There are tools and packages and libraries, and if you have any wit at all you already use well-documented, free code for things such as e-mail validation, but that obviates only so much. . . .

You come to the conclusion: The world is broken.





THE CODE ISSUE 19

July 24th, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_019_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one suggests big can equate to bad (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 76):

‘Enterprise’ is a feared word among programmers, because enterprise programming is a lot of work without much to show for it. Remember healthcare.gov, the first version that was a total disaster? Perfect example of enterprise coding.





THE CODE ISSUE 18

July 23rd, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_018_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one addresses some of the creative destruction that has accompanied our technology revolution (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 74):

Of course, while we were trying to build a bookstore [Amazon.com], we actually built the death of bookstores—that seems to happen a lot in the business. You set out to do something cool and end up destroying lots of things that came before.





THE CODE ISSUE 17

July 22nd, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_017_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one suggests that there are some worms that we will never get back into the can (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 72):

Data management is the problem that programming is supposed to solve. But of course now that we have computers everywhere, we keep generating more data, which requires more programming, and so forth. It’s a [major] problem with no end in sight. This is why people in technology make so much money. Not only do they sell infinitely reproducible nothings, but they sell so many of them that they actually have to come up with new categories of infinitely reproducible nothings just to handle what happened with the last batch. That’s how we ended up with ‘big data.’ I’ve been to big-data conferences, and they are packed.





THE CODE ISSUE 16

July 21st, 2015

THE_CODE_ISSUE_016_IMAGE

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one reveals the frustrations that go through the mind of a coder during an important project meeting (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 72):

Programmer A, the leader, seems very professional. She’s at the whiteboard scribbling, erasing, scribbling, erasing. Lists, arrows, boxes, lines. She wrote RUSSIANS? on the board. But after an hour you realize: This is just e-mail. One field. One little bit of data. You haven’t even hit names yet. What if the user has one name? What if Bono or Cher signs up for an account? What if it’s the Chinese Bono? Do we want to allow signups in Chinese? What browsers do we need to support? Do the call center people need to be able to manage accounts?

It’s hard not to think of barrels of cash burning. . . .

How do we ensure that credit cards are valid, that physical addresses are real? Will we perform financial transactions ourselves? Which external systems will integrate with our systems? Who will get the sales reports? We didn’t talk about the mailing list software. We didn’t talk about password length, the number of letters and symbols necessary for passwords to be secure, or whether our password strategy on this site will fit in with the overall security profile of the company, which is the responsibility of a different division.

So this is the work.

It

goes

on

for

days. . . .

Not a line of code is written throughout this process.