Does humor belong in Software Development?

According to an interview I once read, Frank Zappa’s life quest was to answer the above question related to music. As in, proving that humor had a place in music, and that not all music needed to be deep and emotional. In many ways, one can argue that if you have to explain your motives in these regards, one has failed – And software developers in many ways, are probably among the most serious professionals out there. However, the paradox is that you kind of get to choose; Either you’re among those laughing of humor, or you’re among those being laughed by in humor. Within the boundaries of self irony, it’s actually a choice.

When I was a kid, we had the image from this blog in our toilet. My father was a professional Jazz musician, and he had the outermost respect for Zappa. Frank Zappa was incredibly talented, and many will claim he was one of the best Jazz musicians that ever lived – And his response to such claims, was to publish a photo of himself on the toilet. You’ll probably never see a photo of me sitting on the toilet coding, but I must confess that sometimes I feel tempted to create such a photo. However, humor is impossible to grasp for some people out there, and some people will have to be explained exactly what is humor and what is not. So let me explain it very detailed in case you didn’t get it; It’s OK, you can laugh now … 😉

Edit: Just because I have humor in regards to software development, and my profession, doesn’t imply I don’t take my profession seriously. I take software development very seriously, just like Zappa took music very serious. I just realize the simple facts of things, which is that sometimes humor can bring us outside of the box, and allow us to think greater thoughts, due to the ways it too stimulates the right hemisphere


Could software development be fun?

Software developers are very often very serious guys. No wonder, since they’re often juggling millions of dollars, and the consequences of a bug, might literally be that rockets explodes. Such as was the case when Ariane 5 exploded, due to apparently a division by zero in the software.

Such accidents as the above, doesn’t make us less relaxed either to say the least. However, software development could still be fun, without jeopardising security and quality. In fact, my theory is that the more fun it is, the less likely an accident will become.

When I created Phosphorus Five, it was created as the tool I needed myself, in order to put the fun back into software development. When you start out really mastering it, this trait becomes apparent, since it feels like you’re in fact assembling LEGO bricks, and not software components. This trait of P5, makes it less likely that you create disastrous side-effects for several reasons. First of all, most of the stuff you create, will either be stuff you reuse, by creating a component yourself. This allows you to spend more time, on individual pieces of your systems. Secondly, a market place of pre-fabricated components, inevitably will become the result, as P5 gains tipping point. This implies more reuse, and less “not invented here syndrom” – And ends up making you more productive, spending more time on the fun parts, and less time on the nitty gritty details.

So yes, software development can be fun. In my next blog, I will demonstrate this fact, by showing how creating apps with P5, really resembles the act of assembling LEGO bricks. And the fact that it’s fun, becomes your guarantee of delivering better quality, for less effort, resulting in a better life/work balance – Inevitably resulting in less stress, creating a positive upwards spiral, making everyone happy!

In case you want to start having fun while developing, I have attached a 4 minutes long video explaining how to initiate your experience 😀

Does humor belong in software development?

Frank Zappa once asked this question in regards to music. Arguably, I have indirectly asked the same question in regards to software development.

The art of creating software, is a serious business. Often billions of dollars are at risk, and sometimes even our lives – Such as is the case with software that for some reasons influence our very lives. In such a regard, throwing humor into software development, might seem like blasphemy to some. But then comes the muffin man … 😉

Him who take serious things exclusively seriously, and funny things exclusively as fun things – Shall understand neither funny things nor serious things.

Humor bridges our hemispheres, meaning the right and left parts of your brain. Unless you have both parts of your brain present during development of software, performing optimally becomes impossible.

This doesn’t mean we should laugh if our software creates dangerous side-effects, and literally kills people. However, it does imply that killing people as a negative side-effect of creating software, becomes less likely, if you had some laughter while developing it.

The above assumption, is such an obvious fact, that even attempting to discuss it, is probably meaningless. Brain scientists have long since proved that humor in our daily lives, makes us perform better, and end up with better results.

Hence yes, humor does belong in software development. It is in fact a prerequisite for creating unimaginably beautiful software!

Or with other words; All lambda objects are created as equals, to be more specific, as 42s!