This Code for Rent

Given the current economy and the housing market here in Florida, we have been talking a lot about renting versus owning a home. How does this have anything to do with code? Glad you asked. In the life of any given application, you are probably in it for only a short time (relatively). You might be on the team that builds the version 1.0 product or you might be on the team that is supporting version 6 of a product on version 8. Whatever the case may be, more often than not, you are just there renting the code.
I think this is an important fact to remember. My friend Brain Button taught me a long time that I am not my code and that I definitely do not own it. When I put myself in the mindset of a renter instead of an owner, the idea of The Broken Theory makes perfect sense. When you rent a home / apartment / car, you sign an agreement to take the best care of the thing you are renting the best that you can. Why should that not be any different for code? No matter how you decide to take care of the code you are renting, you should always feel good when you turn (check) it in.

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About Scott Densmore

A transplant from Seattle to Florida trying to bring some community love to the sunshine state. And don't call me a hippie.
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  • But what happens when something breaks or doesn’t work? Who is the “landlord” that I call on to “fix” it because I don’t “own” it?

    Also since I don’t own it, I don’t care too much about it.

    Sorry, that analogy just doesn’t work for me…

  • Joey,

    You are right, maybe you should be the landlord at the same time. When something breaks and you don’t fix it, I am sure the other people will either fix it and chastise you about it, or your product will be dead in the water. Again, you really don’t own it, you just take ownership of it for a little while.

  • Correct, most developers always end up renting code. Which is either writing code for someone else or fixing someone else’s code. Thats why there is so much bad code out there. Developer’s have the attitude…”It’s not mine, I don’t care if it’s not that good.”
    The ones who want to own the code (comparable to owning a house) write good code and always take good care of it. Those renters usually become home owners pretty soon. They don’t stay renters.

    Be an owner don’t be a renter.

  • I guess I should have been a little more clear. You can own something, yet I doubt you will own it forever (the code). Take pride in your craft and what you do, the code will flow from that passion.

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