Saturday, March 22, 2014

Proverbs 27:17

One of my favorite sayings is "God made programmers in pairs for a reason."  Some of my friends will recall me telling them why it's so important that programmers review other programmers' code — and why it's so important that they have other programmers review their code: iron sharpens iron, the lesson of Proverbs 27:17.

"Gee," I can hear some of my friends exclaim, "I didn't think Frank was that into Scripture!"  Relax, I'm as ignorant of Scripture as you suspected I was, but I do have friends who are otherwise endowed.

First, however, the background: I remember seeing my Mom getting ready to slice the Sunday roast: she would take two carving knives and whisk them rapidly together — snick snick snick snick — blade-to-blade alternating edges.  Both knives got sharp.  I didn't know why, and it wasn't important until many years after she left us.

When I mentioned this technique to a friend and colleague, Don Ohlin, years later as a justification for holding informal (at least) code reviews, his response was "Proverbs 27:17."  As you might have anticipated, my response was "Huh?"

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," he replied.

Whatever your opinion of the Bible, there's a heap o' wisdom nestled within.

Now, schedule the damn code review and stop stalling.


P.s.: God made parents in pairs for very much the same reason.