Today, I was reading my LinkedIn feed, trying to find some inspiration, and I came across a post describing code reviews in a way I never thought before.
The post talked about how you should treat the codebase as if it was your house, which sounds profoundly asinine at first, but… is it really?
I’ve found some good wisdom from this post and I wanted to expand on it. But first, let’s take a step back.
Imagine you’re renting an appartment. The floor and walls are old and door hinges haven’t been fixed in a while but they still can pivot.
You sign the paperwork, get your furniture in, and everyday you will get inside and live in it. As time goes on, you will keep on adding more things in it, sometimes consciously or unconsciously. Those things can be the unread mail piling on, unfinished drinks that were left on your coffee table, the bookshelves slowly filling with dust, the trash bags filling in with smelly shrimp outer shells, the dirty cauldron you used for that delicious chili you’re so proud of, the leftovers of said chili you left in the fridge for way too long…
All those things will inevitably happen as you spend time living in your home every waking moment. And while you could pay for services that will reduce or mitigate the problems (ex. deliveries and cleaning), you still haven’t fixed the core problem : You.
Yes, you. Your habits in spendings, for social and pleasure, your discipline, your anxiety, and maybe even your alcoholism or drug habits. Those are the key points why you’re not taking care of these issues. It’s not the landlord’s fault nor is it your roommate’s, despite feeling the need to blame that landlord for selling you that house or the roommate for not doing anything about it and setting a precedent. Responsibility must be taken by someone, and that someone is gonna be you, because it is your house after all.
You might be thinking “Well, I still am able to live here, and to do my daily routine and make it feel like home” but soon you’ll find you have a sink tap that seldom unlocks from its inner mechanism, the water runs on both the bath and shower resulting in lower pressure from the showerhead, or the wall-hung coat hanger that unbolted itself from the wall due to having too many coats pulling outward, so your only solution is to leave your winter coats on the living room chairs…
Ignoring the problems will probably win your more time for relaxing and living in your home without worries, but those debts will only keep increasing and causing more compromises to be made.
And then you invite people over.
If you don’t keep your home clean when they arrive inside, they’ll see it instantly. And they will understand where your priorities are.
Fortunately, in the context of code reviews, they will be more willing to give feedback, but in both cases, the fact you invite people over to look at your code or spend time at your crib will make you care more about your work.
Essentially, this has been a core issue I felt about every work contracts I’ve had for the past year and a half. All were under monolithic codebases that focused on delivering business value and rarely ever cared about ensuring the next guy who reads the code feels “at home”, because not a lot of people really did code reviews.
Add that I forced myself to work extra hours to fix issues that were ommited by past contributors/tenants and I was on a prescribed 40mg dose of Adderall (a drug that helps with my ADHD but at 26 years old only really makes me grumpy, anxious and force myself to ), to say I felt miserable would be an understatement.
And then they let me go because I had enough and used a loud drill to attempt at fixing those issues, which none of the other tenants were happy about.
Code quality is like keeping your home tidy. It’s important.
By the way, I’m a young developer who’s looking for work in Québec City and in a year around Dallas, TX. Hit me up with offers if you want me in your team !