Make a mess, clean it up

In the last few days I did a flurry of computer programming. There was an idea I wanted to try out, so I just threw together a solution as fast as I could — essentially with rubber bands and krazy glue. At some point it started to work, but of course it was all a complete mess under the hood.

Here’s the thing: Programming is a little like rock climbing. You can reach out an arm or a leg to pull yourself up and gain a higher purchase, but you can’t extend all your limbs at once. Translated into programming, this means that you can only afford to make one mess at a time. Then you need to clean up.

So after my flurry of activity, I proceeded to turn the mess I had made into something clean. It still looked the same on the surface, but underneath everything was now tidy, ordered and properly labeled. And perhaps more important, some of the components under the hood have become shiny new tools that I can use for other things.

Which means I can now go ahead and make another mess. :-)

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