developer experience

A developer's cookbook

by Gil

Fri Jul 15 2022

Remember the cookbooks from the past? The ones made of paper, not store bought ones, but written by real people on used, old notebooks by the person who cooked them, copied from other people's cookbooks and wrote about a recipe some friend told them about.

I think this concept of cookbook/journal can be used for us developers in an even easier way. Here's the scenario, someone asks you to extract some data from a service you manage, you write a script to get that data because you need to post-process it or because you hate SQL for some reason. What will happen to that script? Realistically, if nobody asks you for that data again, it'll live on your computer until it breaks and you forget to back it up because it's in some tmp folder.

What if you had a place to store that script? It's just a one-off so we don't need super documentation or to be code-reviewed because its purpose has been fulfilled, but what if someone else asks you to do a similar data report that you could base off of that script? Or even reuse it with some small changes to variables? What if your colleague was asked the same thing while you were on holiday? What if they asked you to re-run the script and you already forgot where it was? These are reasons why I think you should keep your one-off scripts saved up and shared somehow.

And this is where the "Developer's Cookbook" comes in, I like having a repository called "Gil's cookbook" ideally on the company's git repository so that when I leave the company, my fellow colleagues can still take advantage of it, but also so I don't have to handle permissions/sharing.

The next stage is to tell people about my cookbook and to link it when people ask you for help, or scripts to run something, this way they'll be aware of it, and it's OK to become your own index of the cookbook for a while until it comes a point where people just know where to look instead of asking you.