Mottos. Who dares wins and all that.

by Matt 16. June 2006 18:43

For the last 18 months or so, I've tried to work to one of a number of mottos.

It started when I was writing a rather large piece of framework code. The motto was "make it easy for the caller". It meant that I would do everything in my power to enable the caller of my framework to write as little code as necessary, write as simple code as possible, and to actually get it right first time. I would favour making my implementation work harder, and writing more code in the framework over making the caller do it. Nice motto. I liked this one. Of course, it took a better man than me to sum it up in a nice pithy way - "the pit of success".

Once the framework was complete, I returned to working on normal, everyday client code. The first motto no longer held, so I pulled out a golden-oldie - "keep it simple". I think it's fairly obvious what this one's about; do not over complicate a solution. Do not over engineer it. Keep it simple. The guy who has to maintain your code in sixth months time will thank you for it.

The latest motto also comes via Brad Abrams. It's "sanity will prevail". Go read his description. It's a nice, upbeat way of looking at the world and coping with things that you disagree with, but are outside of your control.

Several months on, it's not quite as charming.

Right now, sanity is not prevailing. There's a distinct lack of common sense about the place, and everything just seems to be making life harder.

I'm kind of losing faith in this motto.

Now, maybe I'm just not giving it a fair crack of the whip. I know I'm not seeing any progress out of it, but I think it's really meant for the long haul.

Or maybe it's just not a good example of a motto. One of the dictionary definitions of motto is "a maxim adopted as a guide to one's conduct". This doesn't fit. This seems a better fit:

mantra: A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

So now I've rationalised my way out of that one, I need a new motto.


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