Robert N. Harris

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Robert N. Harris, Director of Information and Technology with Driven-Inc.

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The Lair of Leaky Abstractions – Guidelines for the Care and Feeding of Software Developers

After building and leading software teams for 14 years, I’ve learned developers are fearsomely powerful wizards that sometimes fall victim to their own cleverness. I keep a list of hard-learned lessons on my whiteboard to help us avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. Here is a sample.

rule[0] – if it can be null, it will be null
Gets us every time. Dev and test databases full of edge cases to cover every known bug and issue. Release to production databases full of empty tables supporting new features. My inbox runneth over with error reports. We were going to add tests for that later, but…

rule[9] – later == never, temporary == forever
How many times have you seen a code comment like this? Or written one yourself?
//Temporary workaround. Come back and fix later

Look at the timestamp; it’s been running in production for years. Don’t despair. If it’s been working this long, it couldn’t have been that bad. And if we’re honest, all code is a temporary workaround because….

rule[13] – tomorrow you hates the code you wrote today
Show any developer something they wrote over a year ago. “It’s garbage. I need to rewrite it.” Why? “It’s a mess. It needs to be refactored.” This is actually a very desirable trait; it means they kept learning since they wrote it. Developers who look at their old code and like it are the ones you have to keep an eye on. Seriously though, don’t let them rewrite it, but that’s a lesson for another day.

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

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