#CraftConf – BoÐil Stokke – Programming, Only Better – Keynote

Bodil is a well-known conference speaker that works as a developer at Future Ad Labs, a London based company.

If you’re used to read her tweets, you should know that she has a pretty good sense of humor.  That one she tweeted about 2h before her keynote was quite funny:

bodil

…and gave the right tone before she talks :-)

What I have to say is that I was not disappointed. Some of her slides (My Littlle Pony, cats’ videos …) and the way she ran her presentation, were hilarious. She also piqued my curiosity: now I want to know more about Dijkstra!

Well, being funny is one thing, but more important, Bodil made also a pretty smart presentation.

bodil1

After spending some time describing computer history she ended up with this question:  Would processes or good project management bring great code? Is being Agile the answer? Well even with the picture of Bob Martin Showing The Way with Extreme Programming like Moses raising the 10 commandments, the answer is no! Simply because people are different! Some people love doing pair programming while shier ones would prefer being concentrated on TDD. Do code review everything would be a silver bullet? Sure no….

But wait, why is there so much bad code? Is that a matter of what language you’re using? No way! The reason is simple: complexity! There is too much complexity in our software. Would testing save us, then? Would it be the way to deal with complexity? Obviously not, it’s almost impossible to tests every case. You’ll always find a use case that is not covered by tests and thus subject to bugs. Bodil quoted Dijkstra, what he said about testing was one of my favorite: “Testing is hopelessly inadequate… it can be used very efficiently to show the presence of bugs but never to show their absence”

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The cause is that we’re trying to manage a code with way too much possible sates, our code deals with way too much mutable objects that can have their state changed by any kind of unexpected side effects behaviors.

So, what would help up? Are we doomed forever? Sure not ;-). First of all, have a look at “Out of the tar pit” paper by Ben Moseley & Peter Marks where they explain why complexity causes so much trouble in our software and what would be the right way to deal with it.

Well, it might be time to look at functional programming language or at least adapt a functional way of programming in our code! How? There are some good recipes, think about that one: if you think your object or any class member should be immutable, just put a sealed (or final) keyword in front of it! It will also help in a multithreaded environment where no lock will be needed anymore as share object can never change!

Nouhoum Traore said this one time: “functional programming style is a programming style that has style” :-) We can do nothing but agree!

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