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Inconspicuous Programming

Published: 06/30/2014

Think about the last few times you've been online. Did you notice anything unusual? Were there broken links? Or a form that wouldn't submit right? Were there missing images represented by tiny broken image icons? Or maybe a button that you couldn't actually click on? A jerky transition? In most cases, probably not. But there were those few times . . .


Of course there were.


Now try to think of the last time that you thought, "Amazing how all of those panels line up perfectly." Or, "Wow, that transition was really smooth."


A little bit harder, right?


That's because when programming is succeeding, it's inconspicuous.


It's a little like this: Before I was a web programmer, I was a sound technician. If you are at an event and you think to yourself, "Hey, there's a sound technician here," something has gone wrong. Most people go to concerts, sporting events, conferences, and it never occurs to them that there's somebody behind the scenes setting the sound levels . . . and that's okay. Because that's how it's supposed to be.


When you go to a website and you click on a link and it works and you don't give it a second thought, that means I've done my job right.


There may be tens or hundreds of lines of code hidden behind those inconspicuous transitions, those things that you don't notice. Lots of work went into all of that not noticing, so that you can experience the website and never have to worry about what actually makes it happen.


And that's exactly the way it's supposed to be.


 

Author: Piper Armstrong
Position: Front End Developer
Piper graduated with a bachelor's degree in linguistics from Brigham Young University, but she didn't let that stop her from learning the useful skill of web development. When she drags herself out of bed early enough, she likes to go running in the hills around her house. Her hobbies include reading, writing, volleyball, and more web development. She is adamant about getting 8 hours of sleep a night and lives almost exclusively on string cheese, popsicles, and diet soda.

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