The Bike Shed

421: The Idealistic vs. Pragmatic Programmer

April 2nd, 2024  •  41 mins 1 sec  •  Download (46 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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Stephanie revisits the concept of "spiking"—a phase of exploration to determine the feasibility of a technical implementation or to address unknowns in feature requests—sharing her recent experiences with a legacy Rails application. Joël brings a different perspective by discussing his involvement with a client project that heavily utilizes the dry-rb suite of gems, highlighting the learning curve associated with adapting to new patterns and libraries.

Joël used to be much more idealistic and has moved to be more pragmatic. Stephanie has moved the other way. So together, Stephanie and Joël engage in a philosophical discussion on being an idealistic versus a pragmatic programmer. They explore the concept of programming as a blend of science and art, where technical decisions are not only about solving problems but also about expressing ideas and building shared understandings within a team.