What’s Thoughtful Code?

So this is about programming?

In short, yes. How to write programs (or “code”) which is thoughtful. More on “thoughtful” in a second.

Who’s Writing This?

Hi! I’m David Hayes´╗┐. That’s me in the photo.

I think the first thing I ever programmed was some Lego, using a language known as Lego Logo. I was about 9 at the time.

I’ve been coding since way back when I had a TI-83 in middle school and I just had to make a video game. What I made is still online, even. It’s a very basic stock trading game in TI-BASIC, called NYSE. It’s features are almost comical, but I made it, and you can still see my cool brand and email address on the page. (Though I lost access to that email account long ago.)

I’ve been working professionally as a developer for a while. Before I did, I was getting a BA in History and some experience with a less-cushy job. Here in the start of the 21st century, few jobs are better and more reliable than those of us software developers.

My journey back to programming involved a lot of time with WordPress. I love WordPress. I still run a site all about WordPress and being better at developing for it called WPShout. But I also like to think and learn beyond WordPress. I’ve dabbled with a number of languages and frameworks outside of WordPress, including a little Python and a lot of the PHP frameworks Laravel and Symfony. About those latter two topics, I often speak at PHP conferences, like the late great Lone Star PHP.

What do you mean by “thoughtful”?

Great question!

I’m going to do that somewhat-lazy writer trick of referring to someone else’s definitions.

Google’s definition gives as a meaning for thoughtful:

  1. Absorbed in or involving thought
  2. Showing consideration for the needs of other people
  3. Showing careful consideration and attention

Of the three, I intend primarily #2 and #3. In general, the thing that’s exceptionally easy to miss while we write code is that it’s mostly written for other humans. Those human may be people you naturally think of as distinct from you: your enemies, your clients, you co-workers. But they may also be, well, you at different times. (To avoiding going to far into definition #1, we’ll not spill more words over this.)

I believe profoundly that the most important audience for the code we write is not our current self, or the computer, but other people. We should consider their needs and expectations. And when we do, better code naturally results.

Why does Thoughtful Code exist?

Thoughtful Code exists, primarily, because I selfishly love to learn and teach and have been lacking outlets for that lately. While I love WPShout a lot, and will always love to write there, I also need places to share things I learn and things I think which are outside of the WordPress space.

So the intent, here, is that this is broadly “David’s non-WordPress code journal.” Obviously, that’s not a great marketing name. And I do want to be a bit more unified in focused than that over time. But for now, as I wait to really get clear on this, that’s what it is.


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