saylornotes

The Blog of Chris Saylor

Search Results

    Ruminate More

    June 30, 2020 engineering Chris Saylor

    Do you remember back to your school days of writing a paper, giving it a once over, and turning it in only to be surprised on return of bad editing marks? After all, I reviewed it; how did I miss so many mistakes?

    When we start actively writing, our brains devote more processing resources to higher-order thinking. In other words, the brain filters out low-level mundane items like spelling and grammar in favor of conveying meaning. This is a well known phenomenon that has often been written about 1, so you’re likely already aware.

    “OK, so you’ve made me take the painful trip back to high school term papers, what’s your point?”

    This isn’t just limited to writing papers and articles. It exists in all creative processes. As a software engineer, this happens to us all the time. We’re thinking about a problem at a high level, we write code to solve the problem, then the dreaded bugs come. Even worse, things downstream from our changes may be affected. How do we combat this?

    Ruminate. Let it stew.

    While this is true during active problem solving, the context never fully disappears. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a solution to a problem from the previous day.
    While this is true during active problem solving, the context never fully disappears. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a solution to a problem from the previous day.

    Often, we push ourselves to be so productive that we rarely give ourselves time to sit back and think about what we’ve done. We’ve grown accustomed to doing one task and fixing three bugs. If we were to just slow down and contemplate our solution, we can catch what our brain was helping us gloss over in the first place. Maybe even allow for a holistic solution!

    So before you push to production, pause and let the code percolate.


    Sources
    1. Wired.com - What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos - Archived Link
    Credits
    1. This is why you should never interrupt a programmer - Archived Link
    2. Featured image by Tachina Lee

    Related Posts

    Deploying CSRF Protection to an Active Site December 18, 2019

    At Zumba, I implemented CSRF protection to all our state-changing user inputs. With a large and complicated site, implementing CSRF is a very tricky …

    Meta: How this blog is built and deployed April 11, 2019

    It is an unspoken rule that if you utilize something other than Wordpress for a blog that you must include an article on how it is built. This is that …

    Building a Chess bot for Slack August 23, 2018

    With Atlassian’s announcement suspending development of Stride and dropping support for Hipchat in favor of Slack, I decided that the time was right …

    Why Use Generators in PHP January 2, 2017

    I’ve heard many co-workers, friends, and colleagues at meetups acknowledge the existence of generators in PHP, but not understand why they would use …