Hold My Beer

The rallying cry of a redneck about to do something really stupid.  I think we should have a version in the programming world where it means: “I just spent half the day writing this code and not compiling/running it once- here goes!”  You’re likely about to hurt yourself in a spectacular manner.

But this time, for the first time ever, it actually worked (results not typical).  I was adding a really simple module to allow an admin to add new activity types (for audit logging).  Usually, I will recompile the .net code at multiple steps, but with Visual Studio, that has become less important- it will yell at me with those red squiggly lines if I really mess something up.  It’s my complete newbieness with C# that usually causes the issues- generally trying to use JS syntax and finding that it just doesn’t work that way.  Imagine my surprise when I finally ran the app and it not only compiled without error, but also did what it was supposed to do!

But no one would recommend this as a best practice.  And really, most modern development tools have checks against this built in.  There are Visual Studio’s aforementioned red squigglies that burrow though your eyes and into your brain, relentlessly mocking you and your stupid mistakes.  Also, on the front end, when working with a transpiled language like Typescript (which we are and it’s awesome), you usually have a “Typescript compile watch” constantly running.  Whenever you make a save to a file that’s being watched (usually all .ts and .html files within your app folder), that watcher will automatically attempt to re-transpile the entire thing.  If you’ve done something really dumb, the command prompt will yell at you (no red squigglies, but oh well – also, the word ‘squigglies’ also results in a red squiggly line!).

Of course, an app can compile or transpile and still be completely broken, so it’s definitely good to test frequently after small changes.  Even when your dev tools don’t force you to.

There’s a great line in the Mel Gibson (I know) ode to violence and America “The Patriot”.  He’s giving his young sons quick tips on how to kill British soldiers in the most effective manner possible.  He says “Aim small, miss small”.  It’s cheesy and I have no idea if it actually makes you a better shot, but it is solid advice to co-opt for writing code.  Add or modify something small and check your results.  You might miss- but it will take a much smaller correction than if you spent hours editing multiple files across your entire project, only to find you’ve broken the whole thing.  Or missed that evil Redcoat!

The metaphor might have broken down a bit at the end there, but I think you get the point.


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