Hindsight: Retiring Some Early Entries

Posted by Jack on 2021-08-04 at 22:23
Tagged: personal

Doing some spring cleaning as part of the migration to Zola I had to go through my older entries with a bit of a fine-toothed comb to ensure that things like comments and images were properly migrated by my scripts.

Reading my words from a decade ago, I realized I've changed a lot as a programmer since then and I don't really endorse my old viewpoints. But it seems a shame to just delete the old entries without examining why I was wrong or, at least, why my opinion changed.

So, I'm retiring the two earliest entries on this blog.

The first post, named "Calm Down!", was written as I discovered the need to pace myself when handling Canto bugs. While I don't think it's a bad idea to avoid panic when programming, the prescription to re-design over iterate is a bit ridiculous. This post is indicative of where I was at 24 having never really worked on anything much bigger than a toy, or for longer than a year or two. Now that I've got more experience, and have tangled with more than my fair share of twisted legacy codebases that leech your will to program out by papercutting you to death, this post doesn't ring true for me anymore.

The second post is one I wrote about using Python decorators to parse commands into function arguments automatically. I effectively wrote an ad-hoc, runtime type system annotation for Python. This is also indicative of my mindset at 24. I fell in love with Python around 2010 and it wasn't my first interpreted language, but it was the first one I really bothered to master... long after this post that I cringe at now because decorators are almost always a terrible idea and Canto itself has long since abandoned this in favor of a much more straightforward parser.

I hesitate to retire these posts a bit because they're closer in tone to what I initially blogged about. Circa 2008-2009 I was regularly posting in a crazy do-it-yourself CMS based on Python and Git and, shockingly, I was actually trying to get people to read what I wrote. Now I just review books and briefly update nobody about whatever I care to blather on about and if someone stumbles in from a search engine once in awhile so be it.

On balance though, there's plenty of other amateurish (and not so technical) early opinions hosted here so I think giving these two the axe and saving myself the internal cringe every time I read them is no great crime.