Wednesday, 21 April 2010

File Under Easy Listening

This is an excellent podcast by David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) on Legacy Software.  It's a recording from a talk at RailsConf Europe, and the podcast (i.e., audio-only) format doesn't really work in the last third of the talk, in which he's refactoring some code on stage.  However, the gist of his argument is completely sound - if you wince in embarrassment/pain/surprise when you look at code you wrote a few years ago, it's nothing to be ashamed of.  The code hasn't got worse - you've got better.  In the interim you've learned new techniques and idioms, and the fact that the earlier you wasn't favoured with your current clear-sighted and visionary approach to writing code shows that you've progressed.

[The corollary of this is that the future you will be embarrassed/pained/surprised by what the current clear-sighted and visionary you is doing today, but what the hey, just appreciate the step change from yesteryear.]

Also highly recommended is this appearance by DHH on Jason Calacanis's This Week In Startups podcast.  Two successful and highly opinionated people with entirely different takes on business, money, and work slug it out.  Who's right?  They both are, of course.  They've figured out what works for them, and good luck to them.  You don't have to agree wholeheartedly with either to enjoy the debate.

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