The speed of a caravan in the desert
“What is the speed of a caravan in the desert?” Language Team Technical Lead Evgeny Mandrikov posed that question recently to illustrate a point about developer tools. The answer to the caravan question is that it moves at the speed of the slowest camel. He was using the metaphor to illustrate a point about developer tools: a developer can only work at the speed of her slowest tool.
This is one reason developers want – and smart managers buy – machines with fast processors. We like them not just because we’re gear-head (chip-head?) geeks, but because they get us closer to the ability to work at the speed of thought. But what about the other tools? What about the quality tools?
For the same reason developers want fast processors, fast IDE’s and fast compilers, we also want fast quality tools. Forget the semicolon at the end of a line of Java code and most IDE’s will immediately light it up in red. That fast quality feedback lets you code quickly and efficiently, without agonizing over trivial details.
Similarly, fast feedback on code quality lets you mark features “done and dusted”, and move on. That’s why SonarSource offers three different options for pre-commit analysis. That’s also why we advocate (and practice!) Continuous Inspection. Looking at code quality once a month or once a week or just before a release is waaay too late.
Because developers want to work at the speed of thought, not the speed of corporate bureaucracy. And smart managers want that too.