Why do we care?

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WordCamp Europe was 2 weeks ago and it was a blast, to have the opportunity to learn something new and make new connections while you are having fun. It’s priceless. I brought home some ideas, some projects, really important stuff but also this question: “why do we care?”

On Saturday I watched Stefan’s Kanev presentation on Functional programming: What’s the fuss all about?” where he talked about the differences between Imperative and Declarative programming languages and why we should choose one over the other. Stefan explained well the differences, he even mentioned roughly that with declarative you could sometimes improve performance.  From my understanding performance wasn’t the point, the point was to show that with a declarative paradigm one can focus on what a particular program should do, on what are the results we want to achieve instead of how we should do it, plus the readability of the code is 10x better.

By the end of his presentation someone asked:

Why do we care?

I must admit I felt a bit shocked, it certainly wasn’t polite and it didn’t make sense. So I kept thinking why the hell would someone ask this. So after some thought I came up with the following possibilities:

  1. he was trying to be funny
  2. he never wrote a line of code in his life
  3. he does not care as long as function x returns y what happens in between is magic.

So after this I started to think on how I would reply to this “why do we care”, could he be right? if no one sees it, is it ok that my code sucks? If no one is looking, is it ok that I throw garbage on the street?

I write code, and I do have the need to feel proud of my code, I can still improve my skills a lot, but I do my best in order to feel good about my code. I dream about my code if I know I did something under pressure that should be better. Obviously I care , but why (if no one is looking)?

It’s not true, no one is looking, otherwise “view source” wouldn’t be a browser option, we programmers do look to other programmers code, not only when we get someone’s else project but specially when we want to learn something.

So should we care because others may be looking at our code?

I don’t believe so but if it makes you write better code I consider it a valid reason.

Personally all this reminds me something my mother told me when I was 12.

We went to this shop so she could by me some earrings.  I was super excited because I wanted those earrings for a long time and that day was the day I was getting them. At the shop we realised there were 2 options: gold or silver. I remember I told my mom “Lets choose the cheapest, they are all blue, no one will know they are not gold.“, she looked at me and said: “We’ll take the golden ones, you will know“.

So that’s why I care! I Know and if I know that I can do better there is no absolute reason why I shouldn’t do it, even when no one is looking.

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