On 26 December 1945, the CFA Franc, a currency still used by many former French colonies in Africa, was created. At the time, after World War 2, the French Franc (the one actually used in France and previously used in the colonies) had been devalued to maintain a fixed exchange rate against the dollar, and France, in its gracious and loving paternity, didn’t want the exports from its colonies to receive a lower value, reducing the amount of money available in the colonial economy.
Software development is hard. And getting good at it is even harder. One regularly reads about the latest and greatest technology one has to know about, or the latest greatest technique that one has to adopt, or they are to be seen as ‘doing it all wrong’. Continuously up-skilling oneself with a deeper knowledge of current tools, languages and techniques, while at the same time learning new ones is quite a daunting task.
React is big. Really big. It is the web framework that you need to be doing right now. It was the Ruby on Rails of 2016. You had to be doing it with a double mocha. And a beard. And a comb-over. Unless you’re black. Or a woman. Or sane. Then maybe not a comb-over.
Some like them. Some hate them. But code reviews are a good thing. Some may think they are demigods who fart out perfect code, and therefore think them irrelevant. Others think they are absolutely terrible and don’t want to be openly found out, and are therefore scared of them. But they are good.
Decolonisation. This seems to be the word of the day. University students throughout the country are fighting for a more Afro-centric curriculum without the baggage of the colonial past. Relaxed hair is now frowned upon by many, and natural hair is in. African print is en vogue. Animals are being slaughtered in suburban backyards. Children are being given long and hard to pronounce names. Yellow bones are losing to darker tones. Africa is coming back!
There are many debates in software development, from how to test, to languages, to frameworks, and everything under the sun. Despite my oblivion to the technical details of many of these debates, what I’ve seen is that many of them hover around the lofty heights of roof trusses without understanding the subterranean foundations that build the houses they are comparing (wow, that was poetic: +1500 hipster points).
People like labels that they can classify themselves under. It’s a nice way to have a club you can belong to, and an opposing club you can speak against. In political rhetoric here in South Africa, one group of people will feel complemented when calling them ‘capitalist’, whereas another will feel completely insulted. It’s the same with the term ‘socialist’. This phenomenon seems to also exist in the software development sub-genre of reality. Of late, I’ve been reading and discussing the tensions between the unit-testing practices of those who call themselves ‘mockists’ and others who call them classicists.
This week, I have been reading Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It talks about how large social movements happen, breaking it down into three things: the people involved, the stickiness of the message, and the context. In discussing the context, he introduces the Broken Window Theory by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, which explains how environment plays a big role in bringing about bad behaviour in individuals.