re: conventional wisdom

Kurt Guntheroth <kurt.guntheroth@gmail.com>
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Conventional wisdom is a pet peeve of mine. People call something
"conventional wisdom" when they don't want to spend any time
justifying it. Similarly, people (like you) want to do whatever they
want that goes against conventional wisdom without justifying it
either. These are lazy habits of thought. Both of them.

Want to talk about DRY? OK. DRY is justifiable on the basis that when
a block of code is found to be incorrect or requires updating, hunting
down all the related blocks of code is a maintenance nightmare. Is DRY
appropriate for every little three-line programming idiom? Probably
not, because the idiom itself is unitary. Probably. Unless the
developer is likely to make mistakes in a little three-line idiom. DRY
is about copy-pasting whole screenfuls of code. Like any conventional
wisdom, you have to know how to follow the rules before you get to
break them.

Want to talk about testing? OK. We write tests alongside the original
code to check out its interfaces. The test code may never find an
error, or you may forget that you found and fixed the error as you
were writing the test, but once the interface is stabilized, the test
will probably never fail again. Except that the other reason we write
tests is that if we must change the implementation, the test ensures
that the change doesn't break the interface. We write tests because it
is easier than predicting the future. A test may never fail, but we
don't know that when we write it. When we change the implementation
and a test does fail, we don't have to ship broken code to customers
to find out we've made a mistake. Tests are an insurance policy. Most
of the time, you don't crash your car, but when you do that insurance
pays for itself. Not writing tests is only an option if your initial
code never contains bugs and your clairvoyance about future changes is

Re: conventional wisdom

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<CABvhn4ERbVAzk54d1AU=ZT93AGNp4XD5GPm6Uhh_rfYodQpsOQ@mail.gmail.com> (view parent)
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> People call something "conventional wisdom" when they don't want to spend any time justifying it.

I think this is at the core with what I don't like about conventional wisdom or calling something an "anti-pattern."  My next post is probably going to talk about lazy thinking and how calling something an anti-pattern is an anti-pattern.
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