Code like a girl…

We’re getting closer to our release and the guys keeps telling me that we’ve got to plan for some time to make the code all pretty and nice.

What? Its not enough that the code works and is well documented, it’s got to look nice too?

It took me a while to buy into this, but it makes perfect sense.

As an open source project our users are going to jump right in to see what makes Snaplogic tick. If they don’t like what they see, they might be scared off. It’s a little like handing in a term paper with spelling mistakes. The ideas, research and arguments might all be great, but if it has misspelled words it sends a really strong signal that the author didn’t care enough about the work to make it easy to read and enjoy.

I came across this post at Headrush that argues that Girl code is a good thing:

I think “girl code” is quite a compliment. Because caring about things like beauty makes us better programmers and engineers. We make better things. Things that aren’t just functional, but easy to read, elegantly maintainable, easier–and more joyful–to use, and sometimes flat-out sexy. A passion for aesthetics can mean the difference between code that others enjoy working on vs. code that’s stressful to look at.

I completely agree. But we don’t call it Girl code, or Metrosexual code, or refridgerator code, or anything else. We think of it as a feature of the code that is going to help the community see and understand what we’ve built and how it can be used. For open source projects this is a must.


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