You know why I love working on open source programming? It's not because the model in itself is a wonder or even that good, frankly it has many problems, but that's not what we're here to discuss. It's not even because I love giving back to the community. The reasons are completely and totally vain and because, well, it's easier to do open source than closed source.
One thing about open source is that every now and then I get an e-mail from a developer that so loved a function or two of mine that they felt like they should tell me about how much it helped them. And sometimes, just sometimes, something far better happens.
Today I received this:
Just wanted to say – great function!
I couldn’t work out why it was working until I littered it with traces and realised that because directories are listed last (I'd never thought to look), there's no recursion issues, as the files are already disposed of.
That's a neat trick to take advantage of!
And at first I even thought he was right, wow, he found out something about my own code I did not know. But a moment later it hit me and I explained to him his error and that the reason said function works is that it first goes into the directory and removes it after it's empty. Neat trick, not too obvious apparently. His next response was also quite a delight:
You're right. You're right!
I do lots and lots of recursion for all sorts of things, but in my head this
definitely seemed more complicated, as the removal of directories demands
you start from the "outside in" rather than the "inside out". But as you've proved, doing the branches first is the workaround.
It's great being wrong! A little humbling (which I admit, I'm not THAT keen
on!) but you get to learn something new.
Thanks for the workout!
We were talking about this function by the way.
So thank you Dave Stewart, whoever you are, for making my day.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️