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Developer Superstition

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Superstition is a bad thing. At least that’s what I have always believed, regarding myself as totally devoid of the stuff. I mean, me, Mats Henricson, superstitious? No way!

But superstition grows out of ignorance, and that’s a valley I must admit I have walked in. And some time ago it struck me that I am indeed plagued by superstition as a developer. Let me elaborate.

Suppose you’re in a slow edit-compile-debug cycle, and suddenly your changes to file X aren’t deployed to Tomcat any more. After some brief investigation it turns out you can get your changes through to Tomcat by prepending your Maven command with "clean", i.e. a clean compile, instead of just incremental.

At this moment your are in dangerous territory, because if you never find the root cause to the problem you are quite likely to ALWAYS do clean builds, thus slowing you down forever!

Does this resemble a situation in your past? If so, then you are also superstitious!

I have added all sorts of shit procedures to my daily work. I do WAY to many clean builds. I restart my laptop twice a day because I can’t get it to dynamically go from wireless to wire, or from my second screen at work to my second screen at home, since they are of different size. My Ubuntu 9.10 distro have problems with that, and I just haven’t found the root cause to it.

Staving off superstition is simple in theory but hard in practice, since it requires you to go to the root of the cause of problems. I have suddenly gotten much more respect for stubborn people!