July 16, 2018 2:08 PM

Code is better when written with collaboration in mind

In Collaboration considered helpful, Ken Perlin writes:

In the last few days I have needed to make the transition from writing a piece of software all on my own to bringing in a collaborator. Which means I've needed to go into my code and change a lot of things, in order to make everything easier to understand and communicate.
There was a part of me that felt grumpy about this. After all, I already knew exactly where everything was before this other person ever came on board.
But then I looked at the changes I had made, and realized that the entire system was now much cleaner, more robust, and far easier to maintain. Clearly there is something intrinsically better about code that is designed for collaboration.

Knowing that our code must communicate with other people causes us to write better code.

The above is an usually large quotation from another post for me. Even so, Perlin makes a bigger point than this, so read the entire post.

By the way, Perlin's blog has probably been the happiest addition I've made to my blog reader over the past year. He writes short, thoughtful posts everyday, on topics that include programming, teaching, academic life, and virtual reality. I enjoy almost all of them and always look forward to the next one.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Patterns, Software Development

July 08, 2018 10:47 AM

Computing Everywhere: In the Dugout and On the Diamond

How's this for a job description: "The successful candidate will be able to hit a fungo, throw batting practice, and program in SQL."

We decided that in the minor leagues, we would hire an extra coach at each level. The requirements for that coach were that he had to be able to hit a fungo, throw batting practice, and program in SQL. It's a hard universe to find where those intersect, but we were able to find enough of them--players who had played in college that maybe played one year in the minors who had a technical background and could understand analytics.

The technical skills are not enough by themselves, though. In order to turn a baseball franchise into a data-informed enterprise, you have to change the culture of the team in the trenches, working with the people who have to change their own behavior. Management must take the time necessary to guide the organization's evolution.

The above passage is from How the Houston Astros are winning through advanced analytics. I picked it up expecting a baseball article, or perhaps a data analytics article, but it reads like a typical McKinsey Report piece. It was an interesting read, but for different reasons than I had imagined.

Posted by Eugene Wallingford | Permalink | Categories: Computing