I wanted to title this “Jargon: how not to be a douche”, but I am too mature for that. Not much, as I then made a point to start off the post with it. I have my limits. You have yours.
As I read The Art of Readable Code (ARC), I constantly find connections to other parts of my life: my university life as a German major, my previous career as a teacher, and tweets from friends afar. This one particular tweet really resonated with me:
— Betsy (@betsybookworm) January 18, 2017
I read that tweet shortly after this passage from ARC: “… project-specific abbreviations are usually a bad idea. They appear cryptic and intimidating to those new to the project.” I am also on a slack channel where those with jobs like to post about all of the “ugly code” they see at work, which often gives those of us still looking for a job the feeling of being left out. “Oh, look at this. Bah ha ha …” without discussing what makes it ugly. For those of us still looking for our first job as jr devs, this smacks of “We are in the know. You are not.” I’m also severely tested as one who majored in language and edited, to not correct their ugly sentences. Must. Not. Take. Bait!
But wouldn’t I be doing the same thing? Ha ha ha, I can use a semi-colon outside of coding correctly. Aren’t I superior? I would be the douche. I’m ok with feeling that way. We can’t control that or change ourselves immediately, but I believe we should own up. It is also a natural reaction to competition. One wants to jab back.
I’m not on a dev team. I’m not employed; however, as I learn to code, I create apps and snippets for myself. While the practice is good for keeping up the skills, it’s not so good for variable names. I am writing for myself. I need to start writing for others, even if I am not. I am developing habits. I chew with my mouth closed when I am alone, so I am not worried about doing it when I am not.
If I hope to be one who collaborates and not competes with coworkers, then I need to practice avoiding exclusionary tactics. Cryptic naming is like jargon; it creates an us-vs-them feel. So. Here I go. Better naming conventions. Check! On it like mouse on enter.