The limits of my abilities…

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

In the cellar was a tunnel scarcely ten yards long, that had taken him a week to dig. I could have dug that much in a day, and I suddenly had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers. — H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

The past week, work has been slow so I’ve had a little time to work on updating my git pre-commit hook. For a while, I actually had a “hack” wrapped around it to run it from the command line, so I could see what was failing before I tried to commit it. I realized as I was working that I was basically writing a lint hook, and have since changed the project’s name to reflect that: git-lint.

The problem is that working on projects like this a polyloader have taught me that the gulf between my dreams and my powers is enormous. It took me a week to refactor pre-commit into something with actual command line arguments, an external configuration file, and policies to implement, as well as adding the ‘dry run’ and ‘sort order’ capabilities– things the pre-commit version doesn’t really need. Obviously, I’d like to know and do a lot more with my non-professional development life. But finding the time is hard, and frankly, when I’m done working on code at work I really don’t have the brains left to write, draw, or code at home.

I remain committed to a few basic ideas: that there’s too much code in the world; that 99% of what we do is translating from formats that are human-comfortable to those that are machine-ready and back; that we can and should make as much of that work declarative; and that even interpreted languages should invest heavily in pre-processors to remove new scopes where none are needed, inline where possible, and exploit the CPU to the best of any human ability.

I know, I’m not helping by writing more of it.

I need to get rich enough to stay home and hack all day. That’s the answer. And I do; just ask my long-suffering wife, who bemoans my willingness to spend all Saturday in front of the computer, geeking out.

1 Response to The limits of my abilities…


September 26th, 2016 at 10:21 am

…instead of spending some of it outside in the sun, gathering Vitamin D the all-natural way. ;)

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