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Posted on: Friday, 12 February 2010 by Rajiv Popat

In a blog-post on your your code being a one way time machine, David Robbins identifies a special enemy from the past that can do you more harm than anyone else: yourself.

David explains:

What type of duress are you under?  The unfortunate among us have been sentenced to slavery by our evil nemesis from the past.  We all have this enemy, and at one time or another have succumbed to the enemy‚Äôs evil plot.  The enemy from the past is 'you'.

A huge part of your life as a software development is all about making decisions. How much code do you really need, how much time are you spending on thinking about your functions, do you need to start extracting till you drop or for now are you just going to ship a shitty version with bugs and get better over time. Every decision that you take will define your relationship with the you-from-future.

To be honest, most of these decisions are simple pragmatic decisions based on common sense and yet year after year I see developers building software and projects which are nothing less than Frankensteins. I see young and budding developers letting their desire to flex their engineering mussels guide the platforms or technologies they pick and not even bothering to fix broken windows as the speed along their career highway.

You primary responsibility as a developer is not to build a highly scalable enterprise application or to work on that really complex software development project. Your only true moral responsibility as a developer is to be reasonably good to the you from future and not sentence him through a painful infinite loop of failure

The more time and effort you invest in being honestly nice to the-you-from-future, the more at peace you will be with your greatest enemy from the past when the future arrives. Now go spend time and conscious effort in being nice to the you from tomorrow. Try keeping that patterns and practices book or that coolest data access framework on the block aside for one moment and take a few pragmatic decisions that will work for 'you'.

The you-from-future might actually thank you for it.

I wish you good luck.