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  • Akmod

Leaving Your Unique Signature in Your Code

In our journey as software developers, we often encounter the notion that code, in essence, should be clean, efficient, and effective. While we uphold these values, there is another subtle aspect to consider: every piece of code we write carries our unique signature. This signature is not just reflected through the git blame command that reveals our authorship; it resonates in our approach to solving problems, the decisions we make, and the practices we follow.

In my younger years, working as a laborer for a journeyman electrician alongside my brother, I first encountered this concept. He taught me that attention to detail was vital: whether it was ensuring an outlet wall plate was perfectly vertical or making sure screws consistently ended in the same position. These small details were a reflection of our work, a signature left on everything we touched even though they had absolutely no bearing on the functionality of the electrical system we were building. He could walk into a room and know instantly if the wiring was his handiwork or not.

This principle translates seamlessly to the world of programming. Despite utilizing tools such as black, isort, and autoflake for automated formatting and adhering to established coding styles, my unique touch still comes through in the code I write. These tools enforce standardization, but your signature in code goes beyond just the style of braces you prefer. It's more than a syntax choice; it's about the essence of your problem-solving process and how you implement solutions.

For instance, I lean towards using flat code structures over nested ones, cherishing the value of simplicity and readability. I advocate for splitting functionality across multiple files rather than contributing to monolithic, poorly named files. Each file should have a single purpose, with every function in it working towards a similar goal, enhancing its coherence and clarity. This is the essence of the UNIX philosophy. It's absolutely fine if a file contains only one function; the priority should be to separate things as much as possible. This makes it easier for a new maintainer to quickly grok a short, well-named file at a glance. I discourage the use of generic names like "util" or "tool" for files – terms that could quite literally describe any piece of code. Instead, I insist on short, descriptive, and meaningful names. This philosophy also extends to the use of directories and subdirectories, all employed to foster an organized, understandable codebase. This approach isn't just about organization; it reflects my belief in maintaining manageable, clear, and communicative codebases.

The top of my files usually finds imports and variables alphabetized, a small nod to my penchant for orderliness. I stick with snake_case naming convention for everything, a rare exception being class names, which, given my minimal use of classes in Plug-in Oriented Programming (POP), seldom surfaces.

My deep understanding of Python's internals resonates in my work, particularly in my adept use of dunder methods and other Pythonic idioms. These elements signify not just my knowledge but also my alignment with Python's philosophy.

One concept that I hold dear and believe significantly reflects my signature style is NamespaceDict. It promotes namespace addressability, a cornerstone of the POP paradigm. It's not merely a coding preference; it signifies my commitment to practical and intuitive design.

Our coding signature is more than the sum of our practices, conventions, and favorite tools. It's about our approach, our thought process, and our creativity. While automated linters and formatters may standardize our code, they cannot erase our unique touch. So be deliberate, mindful, and proud of the signature you leave behind in your code. It's a testament to your growth, your journey, and your unique perspective as a developer.

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