[wp-hackers] Improving the mailing list. (Was Auto Update Plugins)

Jacob Santos wordpress at santosj.name
Sun Feb 22 21:16:12 GMT 2009

Yes, I have been writing satire lately. Perhaps, it is because the 
discussions have ventured off into worthless topics. I'm just going with 
the flow. I like to have fun. Also, you are factually incorrect. I did 
give technical details, I apologize if you didn't read past the first 
sentence. So you're probably not going to read this whole reply either, 
so I put this up here to let you know that.

You have an long discussion about where to put data based on that every 
file in the directory is deleted when it is upgraded. WordPress does not 
put many restrictions based on plugins, nor does it have many standards. 
Based on this assumption, having a discussion about where to put 
something that you can put anywhere, except where limited by permissions 
is worthless. You have people complaining about plugin directory being 
deleted and you have people complaining about plugins being deleted when 
it is uninstalled (yeah! That is the whole point, genius! The plugin 
doesn't want it, so everything must go, including the data you created, 

Take this other thread, with all due respect to Peter Westwood (because 
I really do respect him, he is my favorite core committer), but it has 
been a slap in the face every time I read "Code is Poetry" when 
associated with WordPress.

Technical Details:

1. WordPress used to have issues with its own coding standards, it 
wasn't until 2.5 and 2.6 where a collective effort was unleashed to 
clean it up.
2. WordPress given nature with different patches and developers, it is 
understandable that there would be an instance where a while loop was 
used when a for loop should have been.
3. Inconsistency in API function names (now of course PHP has this 
problem, it is funny, because it is the same reason WordPress has this 
4. The code doesn't rhyme (yeah, not all poetry rhymes, sure, "the art 
of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by 
beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts." [1] )
5. Doing a google search for "Code is Poetry" turns up very poor results 
for anything, now I remember Matt talking about a site or post he read 
that turned him to the motto, but it no longer exists where Google can 
find it (most likely on a later page). A search on Matt's site, only 
turns up results from people in the comments. Therefore, I mean there 
are no direct definitions or explanation of what the motto means to 
6. Poetry is generally abstract, and programmers create solutions which 
are concrete.
7. Poetry isn't a coding standard, actual guidelines are, which are 
concrete directions and instructions on how code should be written. 
Poetry is not absolute enough to be part of that standard.

So the point of "Code is Poetry" is that code should be beautiful, which 
is what I stated in my reply. I can infer that from different sources 
I've read about how code should be written, so that other programmers 
can look at it and use it. "Code should be self-documenting," "Code 
shouldn't 'Smell'," coding standards, coding metrics, C.R.A.P, go 
towards this notion of "Poetry" but serves nothing to define it. I mean, 
this is what it means to me from what I've read about well written code. 
Imagine what it means to you or some novice who has no idea what OOP 
means, what the Blob anti-pattern is, principles of coding standards, 
and writing code that is needs minimal documentation, that is 
understandable with minimal knowledge.

The problem is that as a developer, I create solutions for problems. 
Poetry is beautiful as an expression and time waster, but does not pave 
any way towards creating solutions. As a guideline, WordPress has been a 
long way coming to reaching the goal of "Code is Poetry," so if they 
were coming out now for the motto, then yeah, I would be all for it, but 
they've been on it since day one, when WordPress was no where near where 
it needed to be for "Code is Poetry."

Everyone thinks their code doesn't "smell" [2] so it is understandable 
that developers of WordPress would lock on to the motto, because hey, 
they wrote it and can understand it. Back to the concept of developing 
solutions, poetry is nice, when you have time and don't have to worry 
about backwards compatibility, and users, and other developers.

So maybe it is bikeshedding over the what the motto should be called, 
however, my contention is that it is without definition, so it is up for 
interpretation. So what Peter thinks is Poetry, might be different from 
what Ryan thinks is Poetry, and might be different from what Matt thinks 
is Poetry. However, they generally all talk together, so they may have a 
better idea of what Matt thinks is Poetry, but no one else contributing 
is going to.

WTF? I don't know, I don't care. If it means code should be beautiful, 
based on the above guidelines, then say so. However, even that is still 
without definition. I'm asking for some concrete not something abstract 
like poetry.

Jacob Santos

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poetry #1.
[2] I can neither confirm nor deny that my code does or does not smell 
with any affirmative or denial.

Stephen Rider wrote:
> I'm sorry, but you appear to be getting off the topic of what topics 
> are off-topic.
> We just veered from "keep it technical" and "no bikeshedding" straight 
> to "code isn't poetry unless it rhymes" and "code is like a woman"....?
> Stephen
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> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
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