Searching for better

When I’m writing code to add a new feature or change an existing one, I try to listen to the little nagging voices I hear about the details. What I want to do is cover all the necessary parts, consider all the cases I can, and make sure that there are good reasons for the choices I’ve made. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to feel complete.

And yet, when I finally show it to somebody, they find things I didn’t cover, and not things I didn’t think of either, things that floated, half-formed in the back of my mind that were never fully expressed. It’s not just a matter of going through a checklist, it’s also about listening and feeling your way through a kind of fog. You see shapes in the distance; it’s up to you to decide if they are important. You can feel your way around their edges, trying to get a sense of them. This is a skill.

The desire to do better is the first step. What comes after is an understanding of what better is. What would “better” look like?

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