"It’s just semantics." How many conversations about philosophy, politics and programming are derailed by this thought-stopping comment?
Semantics is all about meaning. If there is one thing we struggle with and need to get better at, it is the search for and clarification of meaning. The world in which a software system lives is filled with meaning. The structure, concepts and names that inform the code, its changes and the mental models held by developers are expressions of meaning. The very act of development is an exercise in meaning — it’s discovery, its formulation, its communication. Paradigms, processes and practices are anchored in different ways of thinking about and arriving at meaning.
But just because we are immersed in concepts of meaning from an early age, and just because the daily work of software development is about wrangling meaning, and just because it’s just semantics, that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily good at it. It takes effort and insight. Let’s talk about what we mean.
Kevlin is an independent consultant, speaker, writer and trainer. His development interests are in patterns, programming, practice and process. He has been a columnist for a number of magazines and sites and has been on far too many committees (it has been said that "a committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled"). He is co-author of A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing and On Patterns and Pattern Languages, two volumes in the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture series. He is also editor of 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know. He lives in Bristol and online. ------------------------- Future Conferences: ACCU 2019 Autumn Conference, Belfast (UK): 2019-11-11 and 2019-11-12. ACCU 2020 Spring Conference, Bristol (UK), Marriott City Centre: 2020-03-24 to 2020-03-28. ------------------------- ACCU Website: www.accu.org ACCU Conference Website: conference.accu.org ACCU Twitter: @ACCUConf ACCU YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ACCUConf
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