Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A peculiar relationship to typos

I was sitting in a meeting, looking at code. A summer interns last day at office. The code "works" but has not been tested by anyone other than him. The last I tried checking it out, I got no further than 1st page which was completely empty. Serendipitously I tried a use case where the two role requirement for the feature did not stand (not by accident though...)

As it was the last day, it is obvious to me that someone else will take over maintenance (fixing) of the feature. Then again, I have two more days at the office myself, so chances are no one will notice if it is broken.

We sit together and look at what he has done. He opens a page of code, in small font and before I can stop myself, I point out: "the method on line 1233 has typo". The feeling was peculiar. First of all, it made me realize how I see typos. It's almost as if they were in a different dimensional layer. They block my view of other things. Second, it takes me significant effort to not point them out and go past them. I can do that, but it drains me more than I feel it should.

These developers have had enough contact with me that they deal with this peculiarity quite wonderfully. Refactoring the name took seconds, and was repeated on a few other occasions over the thousands of lines we were eyeing.

It reminded me that I often find myself explaining to developers how people are different in how they deal with typos. Some people never seem to notice them. Some people (like myself) work hard to move past them or find approaches where they cause less of a hassle than if you would go through a Jira-ticket process to get them fixed.

We need to care for different needs. And it just so happens, groups identifying as testers seem to have a little more of people like me who use significant effort to move past typos.