Richard Bucker

Bushcraft approach to software development

Posted at — May 16, 2016

I’m not going to draw exact analogies and in some cases not at all. I think they are pretty self evident.

keep a positive mental attitude - Larry Wall might have called this Hubris. It’s the mental state needed to solve the problem to the point where there is satisfaction and the desire to move on.

reserve instead of preserve - there is something to be learned from the past, however, trying to preserve the past has proven historically costly and impossible. for example; the ten commandments, the dead sea scrolls, cave drawings, the library at Alexandria, git, svn, hg, cvs, vcs, sourcesafe, fossil and so on. Keep what you need in reserve in a way that is effortless.

cutting - in the bush having something to cut with is essential. The act of cutting can sometimes be a one-way trip. Consider deleting or renaming a file in production and what effect it might have. cutting reminds us to measure twice and cut once. You might be able to cut and tie that cordage back together, however, it’s going to be shorter. This might also mean knowing what to cut from a project as it can effect time.

cover - keeps you try, the bugs out, allows you to collect water which is akin to having prepared for debugging, tracing, as an umbrella to all of the systems below. ELK comes to mind.

combustion - while combustion is going to generate heat to stay warm, dry out wet clothing, add mental comfort; too much heat and things burn and melt. It’s important to know how to optimize your systems to take advantage of the heat without burning down too quickly. Efficiency. Creating tools that are not self service means you might be servicing them yourself and while it’s fun to be a rockstar…. what have you done for me lately.

cordage - depending on the business you’re in there must be an economy of scale. While Elon Musk built Tesla and Space-X very little technology was transferable from one business to another. I imagine he took what he learned from Tesla, improved it, and moved on to Space-X. He was the thread the bound the businesses together. It’s great to be a polyglot. I pick the best language for the job and when once does not exist I create one. But if they do not embed or integrate they will be islands unto their own; like trying to join a vine with razor-wire.

container - keeping it all together, pure and safe. Docker and rocket are currently the best expression of this idea in it’s literal form; and I also think about the monolithic code tree at Google versus project based code trees. There are some advantages to the monolithic tree, however, at google scale it might actually be too big. It’s not until the combustion of the build process begins until the weaknesses can be observed.

** notice that the C’s are actually multi functional.