December 27, 2007 Alex Chaffee

Sayings I use, only some of which are actually originally attributable to me. Anyone with research on a saying’s provenance, feel free to comment. This page, unlike a normal blog entry, will be updated as needed with stuff I find myself saying with air quotes.

A comment is a lie waiting to happen.

“Legacy” means any program that people are actually using.

(Feathers: “Legacy” means “no tests.”)

If you try hard enough, you can make anything fail.

There’s no such thing as human error. (Only system error.)

If you pay attention to something, it gets better.

It’s always a people problem. (Jerry Weinberg)

You can see a lot by looking. (Yogi Berra)

Yogi wrote a book called “You Can Observe A Lot By Watching” but I prefer to think he was misquoting himself.

Language Log has a take on this quote: She was seeing at me

Object-Oriented Programming is like teenage sex: everyone says they’re doing it; few actually are; and those who are rarely know what they’re doing. (Anonymous, via Misko)

Here’s a simple test for whether you’re doing it right: Is your data in the same class as the methods accessing it? Oh, really? Check again.

Double negatives are not unconfusing.

Encapsulation means putting similar things together, and keeping dissimilar things apart.

Of course, the trick of design is knowing along what axes to group or differentiate items. One rule of thumb that has served me well since the days of Gamelan — when we were sorting dozens of incoming applets per day into categories — is:

Don’t look at the item and think, “What category does this item belong in? Look at the category and think, “If I were looking for items in this category, would I want to find this item?”

In other words, make your API fit the mindset of the user, not that of the provider.

Conway’s Law: “Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it.”

Or, “The structure of the code reflects the structure of the coders.”

Read the error message.

About the Author


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