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.
days. . . .
Not a line of code is written throughout this process.”