There is a catchphrase I hear some politicians say on talk shows which I really like: “Focus on web issues, rather than wedge issues.”
It feels like an essential skill to practice when it comes to… ahem… web development. Or really anything to do with the intersection of technology and society, in any form.
And yet, our industry is full of wedge issues.
What editor you use. What programming language. What web framework. What database. What agile methodology. What color scheme you use for your IDE. How you feel about semicolons. Whether you pronounce GIF the “right way.”
Ugh. I was going to go farther with the above paragraph, but I got sick to my stomach typing it. It’s true that most people don’t care about most wedge issues, most of the time. But they’re still a huge part of tech culture. And the vocal minority that drives each wedge deeper makes for ugly interactions nearly everywhere you turn.
To escape from that world, I started asking different questions:
“What kinds of problems and challenges do all software developers have in common? What skills and opportunities do all developers have? And more broadly, what do developers have in common with everyone else who is part of the process of delivering software products to the world, even those that aren’t directly writing the code?”
The partial answers I found to those questions inspired me to write Programming Beyond Practices — but that was just a conversation starter. A gentle nudge towards building a broader perspective of what it means to be a software developer.
My own answers are far less important than the questions themselves:
What are software development’s web issues? What cross-cuts our whole field?
Please reflect on that, and if anything interesting ideas come up, share them with the world.