November 3, 2020
On being dumb as a developer
From time to time, you get vivid reminders that your personal idosyncrasies get in the way of doing good work as a developer. Nothing new in that itself, but today it was me that got caught.
I really hate Emoticons. Never wanted to have anything to do with them. And I was very content that the Linux distro on my working machine (LMDE ) never showed me any.
And then…yesterday for the first time I came across a technical problem that includes them. In researching that, I came across the font Noto Emoji . I had never heard about it before.
The only thing I ever saw of “Emojis” was in the browser, where, as I learned yesterday, they seem to be hard-coded.
So as the next thing I installed the font…and suddenly, I noticed that in the simple editor I use for writing text, there was a context menu "Insert Emoticon" that I had never suspected existed there before. And scandal of scandal, opening the entry, there was a perfectly fine designed menu for selecting them!
To spring that on me so unsuspecting, that must be a bug in itself! Had someone set that font as a default dependency in the Linux Mint repos, but somehow it never got installed if you upgrade?
That was the moment it dawned on me I was reacting completely irrational, and that I should calm down, take a look, and get a truely educated guess about what everyone else thought about using Emoticons in everyday and work life.
So I got on Github, looked into the relevant issues and found the glaringly obvious: Every developer but me treats them both as a well-established part of life and uses them in a measured way in communications among professionals, so they do not get in the way, but convey meaning.
While everyone else had learned how to work with them, I had sulked for a decade, not hindered by my friends and colleagues (who probably laughed about me behind my back). And so it had got into the way of my professional knowledge. Talk about a bummer.
Now I look forward to learning what I have missed out on and, again, to become a better developer. And maybe someone has mercy with me and sends in a few good pointers over the week.