That was some literary irony. In his 1729 book “A Modest Proposal” Jonathan Swift, better-known for “Gulliver’s Travels,” suggested with tongue firmly in cheek that the poor eat their own children, or something like that. It’s a book I’ve read about but not actually read. I was sorta kinda saying “this isn’t actually a new idea” but trying to get it back into the mainstream since I’ve seen a lot of wild-ass branching. And had a lot of issues with Git merging.

Yeah this guy was seriously off. He claimed 15 years of C# and ASP.NET but his code was more like one of those Six-Week Wonders who come out Bangalore billed as a “senior software engineer” when he really doesn’t know anything. I had to fix everything he checked in and I was only 18 months into that stuff. LINQ expressions six dots long that I replaced with one, saving tons of memory and time.

When I saw him create 5 intermediate branches to check in my feature I sort of snapped. “Flexibility,” he called it. And all his talk about branch hygiene was just talk, I would almost get anxiety attacks seeing screen after screen of branches in the repo in Visual Studio.

But if I have one passionate advocacy it’s the restoring of Flow, the recognition that developers do their best work when we can enter long periods of unbroken concentration. I saw the last year of that at Microsoft in 1990 and since I’ve seen the idea just die out completely. Pair programming, for God’s sake. You can’t even enter ordinary concentration.

Remote work has spoiled me. I can do Flow almost any day, but it’s suddenly gotten a lot harder to get remote work in C# or iOS. I prefer doing servers and databases but today, yes today, I got a job as a technical writer. I’ve done a lot of it as a programmer, usually by offering to write user documents and insisting on writing internal ones (requirements and functional specs, mostly). I’ll ramp up on in-demand skills I can do remotely, probably React Native, but for now I’m going to write. It’s less stressful than programming and I can make programming a hobby again and try to put back some of fun that fads and jargon have taken away.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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