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By Teedy Deigh

Overload, 29(162):24, April 2021


"Now I will believe that there are unicorns." Teedy Deigh loses the plot a little.

Verona is in lockdown, but the business and troubles of software development continue. Romeo wanders the streets alone, pondering a production problem he hasn’t been able to figure out. Before the plague hit, he was struck by feelings for his co-worker, Julia. He wonders, does she feel the same? He finds himself on the street where she lives.

Julia appears on the balcony of her apartment, laptop in hand, unaware of Romeo on the street below.

Romeo: But soft! What loop through yonder window handler breaks?
It is the east const and Julia is the fractal set.
See how she codes and uses lean techniques to improve her flow.
O, that I could pair program with her.
Julia: Ay me!
Romeo: She speaks! O, speak again, bright engineer!
For your code craft being o’er my head
Is wisdom and inspiration to my soul.
Julia: O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Denial of service is the cause of our ills.
Refuse the connection after so many retries.
Once again, I must fix the oversight in your code.
Romeo: Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
Julia: ’Tis thy naming of variables that is my enemy;
I come to fix your code, not to bury it,
You obsess over your x and I know not y.
Brevity is the soul of wit,
But here is an obstacle to understanding.
Lo, in this block you name a variable b and another b2.
b2 or not b2 is not the question,
Whether ’tis nobler in the code to state meaning clearly,
Or to use comments against a C of troubles.
Were I to comment, I would say much,
But ’tis better to rename.
I shall reveal intent with words filled with sense.
I shall extract functions and write new tests and then,
Before the night is out,
I shall put this bug to bed and check it into the repo. Man,
The debt of your code weighs heavy against my schedule.
But hark, what did Romeo name the retry counter?
Romeo: Julia, it is i!
Julia: What man art thou that thus bescreen’d in night
So stumblest on my code rant?
Romeo: Julia, you ask “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
I am here!
Julia: O Romeo, Romeo, let dictionary.com be thy companion.
Wherefore means not where but why or for what.
And I ask this of you and your code
As it keeps me from sleep each night.
Romeo: I would suggest other ways that could happen,
But would I be too bold?
Julia: You follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
Is that not enough? Must you also do that IRL?
Your tags are unmatched and braces askew.
Your data structuring leaves much to desire,
And there is not desire left in me for its author.
That which you call rows
By another name would be a code smell.
Besides, we are in lockdown.
Our std::distance must be social
And my apartment model has but a single thread.
Romeo: It is true, there is a plague on both our houses.
Julia: And the rest of the world.
It’s but a stage, and we are merely players,
But our parts we must play until we are rid of this pandemic.
Romeo: O that this virus would not spread so!
That I could firewall against it.
That we could work together
And I could learn from thy counsel.
Julia: Alas, poor Romeo! I know you, and your ratio:
The quantity of learning to quantity of feedback is poor.
Alack, there lies more peril in thy code
Than Dunning–Kruger could e’er have known.
Romeo: Thy words are harsh but true.
The fool doth think he is wise,
But the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
My code ambition is such stuff as dreams are made on.
I would cast all this away to know what you know,
To code as you do.
Julia: Cast it all away?
Like that time you compared this to a summer’s day?
That was a monstrosity.
The loops were infinite, and the execution confined.
The allocations were boundless, and the act a slave to limit.
It took the team ages to find that bug.
Romeo: O Julia, what would you have me do?
When shall we tweet again?
Julia: When the hurlyburly’s done.
When this work item’s fixed and done.
Give the code leave awhile.
’Tis one thing to be tempted,
Another thing to fall.
Romeo: Thou desirest me to stop?
Julia: Spend time on thyself, good Romeo.
Improve thy skills and sharpen thy knowledge.
Watch videos from $SponsorName.
They have many a course on code and its practice.
Romeo: You are fair and wise.
I thank thee and $SponsorName for your help.
Julia: Laters.
Romeo: Laters.

The rest is silence.

Teedy Deigh has heard that a varied diet is important to lockdown living. She is currently living off a mixed diet of home-baked sourdough bread, delivered takeaways, coffee, homemade cocktails and screen radiation. In lieu of travel, she has been experimenting with varying her time zones, sometimes on a daily basis. At least, that is how she has been reframing her unstable sleep patterns.