Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reality Bites

Let's talk web development, readers, because this is my life, this is the way I process information, and this is my passion and profession now.  I'm gonna refer to the movie Reality Bites several times in this post because I'm on the tail end of Gen X, but I am sooooo Gen X, no question.  When I saw that movie in theaters in 9th grade, I knew it was my defining generation, for better or for worse 'cause this is one thing I can't divorce.  And I cried for... I'm still crying.  AND I still want to get a tattoo that says "Troy Dryer ruined my life!", but I'm too Gen X and not hipster enough to do it.  And I'm too Gen X to commit to it, so there you have it, friends.  But, let it be known, Troy Dyer DID ruin my life.

To the real topic of this post, however, TDD has been on my mind a lot.  We don't formally use TDD at my place of employment.  Honestly, I don't know how we could as we have a completely customized framework.  So, I try to think of myself as the TDD/QA AS I am coding.  Reality Bites: "How can we repair all the damage we inherited?".  This is my work life.  Especially now as I am rewriting/refactoring/headdesking the code out of a base project for all future projects that someone I really adore, and therefore shall not be named, has been coding INTO instead of overriding *HEADESK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*.

Here's where my head's at (I mean besides slammed against the desk).  I was looking at that last post I made in 2016, which is such a sad cry for help, but now I'm seeing some very different real world and important application to it.  Specifically, to coders.  Focus on the user experience while you are coding; be the user AND the developer.  If you can empathize with the user, you will catch bugs and mistakes in the first development stages, saving you and QA a lot of grief.  And, most importantly, delivering the best product to the user within the most effective timeframe.

When I started my current position, I had an amazing co-worker who was referred to as "the goalie" by another colleague when she QAed other colleagues' work.  When I joined their project, he quickly learned there were two goalies in the office.  Coincidentally, both of us are women.  It has been my experience that women are more empathetic than men, but it's still up for debate.  What I do know from personal experience is that caring about the user experience and practicing empathy towards the user when coding is a better way to code.  Really it's just a better way to live.

So, Lelaina Pierce, the answer to "How do we repair all the damage we inherited?" is not " The answer is... the answer is... I don't know."  The answer is empathy.  And maybe some headdesking, deep breathing, and letting a few four letter words slip here and there.  And a good glass of wine.


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