Resurrecting the blog: Despatches from the Coalface/Codeface

30-Jan-2018

Like most experienced software developers, I write lots of emails to my team pointing out broken code, performance bugs, or ideas on how we could improve things. Not suggesting I'm a clever-clogs here - often times it's me that wrote the offending code in the first place...

I don't mind writing these emails, in fact I generally enjoy it. They help raise everybody's game (not least my own), and are often the only tangible result of a heap of time spent disappearing down rabbit holes researching a problem or fixing a bug - it's nice to have something to show for the effort, even if it's just an email.

Now, I may enjoy writing these emails, but what I don't enjoy is that they get sent to a handful of people on the dev team, hopefully get read, possibly invoke a few sagely nods of agreement, and are then promptly discarded to the digital trashcan in the sky. I'm not being precious - I don't expect people to laminate my emails and pin them to the office notice board (is that so much to ask!?). No, what annoys me is that the time and effort spent investigating the issue and writing the email is lost as soon as it gets deleted - if only there was a place I could post these emails online so that they might have a longer life, perhaps some kind of web-based log, a "weblog", if you will...

So here marks the beginning of an infrequent and sporadic series of blog posts where I share such emails with the wider world. I have no idea if they will be of any use/interest to anyone beyond my immediate dev team, but you never know. And more importantly, it gives me a permanent archive of such emails that I can refer back to when people keep making the same mistakes new developers join the team, or when I need to refresh my memory as to how the hell we solved that multi-threaded memory leak in the C++ customer import tool we built ten years ago.

More generally, I've had an itch to resurrect this blog recently, and this seems like a pretty low-effort way to get back into it. And to quote Jon Udell, why not make my keystrokes work as hard as they can? Remember, you only have so many left...