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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thought Experiment: First Response

Give the answer that first comes to mind:

Someone says to you: "I want your opinion. I hate the way [some computer language] handles [some problem] and I wrote a really ugly hack to get around it."

What's your first reaction?

a) You want to help the person solve his problem
b) You want to know the hack

6 comments:

Ian Bull said...

Sad to say, but (B). I really want to know the hack.

Antoine said...

The hack... if he found a work around with a hack then there is no problem anymore. If the hack produces new problems then you have new problems to tackle.

Bananeweizen said...

A. Often it's enough to ask several questions about his problem to make himself drill down into the core issue and suddenly see a much better and cleaner solution.

And if he or you classifies his current solution as "hack", then you also know there _is_ a better solution, but typically it takes more time to implement or has effects on larger parts of the code. Just take the time to implement the clean solution. Otherwise the problem will come back...

ma_il said...

If I could intuitively could come up with a solution (maybe had a similar issue once), I'd propose it. But if the problem was already solved, albeit with a hack, I'd like to know how it was done.

Miles Parker said...

The hack of course! You learn so much about how the user is thinking and what isn't obvious about your solution by seeing the ways in which people try to get around it.

Great question...

Patxi said...

The hack. If you make him show and explain you the hack half of the times he realizes by himself of other, cleaner, solutions to the problem.