There may be some misconceptions floating around out there about what actually happens in a dev room. Walk down the corridor and poke your head through the door. That lush smell of freshly laundered clothes and lavender; the bright, tidy decor refreshingly lit by natural sunlight.
Now head next door to the dev room. It’s dark in there. They need to work, and that means pure, dark, focus without the distractions of the outside world. There’s a certain allure of a dark room filled with enormous monitors (BTW, you’re not a true dev unless at least one monitor is in portrait) and the constant click-clack of the keyboard.
Coding is hard. And the golden rule is keep your code as clean as possible. So, what then do devs do to chill out for a second? Are there more to devs than cliches of Cheetos, Mountain Dew and stray ‘dev hairs?’ (don’t ask)
Here are 5 insights into the complicated and sometimes-terrifying minds of our devs, and possibly yours.
1. Naming Conventions
Contrary to popular belief, devs do not typically name their files silly words or throw inside jokes into their code just for kicks. If you do this and think you’re super clever, just stop.
if(yourCode.goofyLevel == ‘high’) yourCode.quality = ‘probably quite bad’;
It might be funny in the moment, but then you’ll revisit that file in a month and find it’s just silly, distracting nonsense, and EVERYONE WILL HATE YOU.
However, there’s always a time and a place. If you’re testing your code, go ahead and use mock-yet-functional values where it doesn’t matter. Perhaps you want to use all the classifications of nuts: Pine, Hazelnut, Kola. Macadamia is a favorite here at Axosoft. Just remember, this practice is only kosher if you’re testing; in which case, go “nuts.”
If you want to use your creativity in naming conventions, feel free to name new features. Enter: Rickscroll, the Slidy Panel, Loadyspin, A Spinny Bob, and the famed, NSFW.
2. Slack Channels
We are happy users of Slack here at Axosoft. We have channels for everything that helps us be more productive! But, if you dig far enough, you’ll find the “Dark Slack,” an underground network of channels that are full of sordid nonsense and alternative methods of discourse.
For example, some devs have been known to get kicked out of a Slack channel and held hostage, only to watch gifs scroll by that are directed at them.
Witness all the crazy gifs directed to a certain dev, and note, that dev was not invited to the channel.
#Random became so random that it broke through the channel, and resulted in an additional degree of random: the dreaded #chaos channel.
These channels serve as welcome distractions when you come up for air from coding, and a random bit of light-hearted nonsense is sitting there waiting for you.
3. The Easter Egg that Tastes a lot like a Burrito
If you’ve been using GitKraken, our Git GUI, you may have noticed a “Chipotle button” on a random Thursday afternoon. Your eyes have not deceived you. We added this button out of pure necessity.
Is this a @GitKraken Easter Egg? Coworker has a “Chipotle” button in the toolbar! pic.twitter.com/wpQwgDzXE4
— Michael Richardson (@anaccidentaldev) September 26, 2016
Every Thursday Axosoft employees go online, order Chipotle, and then a volunteer picks up the large order and brings it back to our office. Shout out to Jonathan, our most dedicated Chipotle runner! This Thursday tradition has been going on literally for years.
As you know, there are multiple Chipotle locations, and if you don’t carefully save your order history, you might end up ordering from the wrong one. Or worse, if you’re in the middle of coding and don’t place your order before the deadline, you might not even get Chipotle at all!
Enter, the Chipotle Button. It was created by an innovative (and hungry) dev who needed an easier way to get this process done. Initially, the button was only part of our internal dev version of GitKraken. Then we thought, ‘wouldn’t every dev love to enjoy our tradition of Chipotle Thursday?!’ And just like that, we pushed the button live.
@GitKraken a chipotle button? I love chipotle and gitkraken, but ads disguised as UI is sleazy. If this is a joke, it’s not funny.
— lafncow (@lafncow) September 22, 2016
So to answer all you inquisitive Tweeters, the answer is ‘no, we are not advertising for Chipotle’. We just really like it, okay?
Devs are a tight group. So, the fast track to being accepted and then, eventually, trusted, is through the tried and true prank. After all, what says “I love you and I’ve got your back” better than premeditated suffering and inconvenience?
Have you tried taking the tiniest little strip of tape and sticking it to the bottom of someone’s mouse? It’s a classic because it works. Nothing like being geared up for a big day of coding and not being able to move your mouse. Listen with quiet anticipation, for frustrated and confused grunts. Fiddle with your Bluetooth settings all you want, pal, ain’t gonna work!
Another favorite is using a wireless keyboard to connect to someone’s desktop. Torture them intermittently by typing random keystrokes that they are seeing, but not creating. Delight remotely, but together, by creating a private Slack channel that the victim isn’t invited to. Public humiliation is really the best, amiright?
If you’re really lucky, a dev or two will go on vacation for at least a week, giving you enough time to wrap their entire desk set-up in cling wrap and suspend it from the ceiling.
Own that prank like the true astronaut that you are.
You may even come out of work one day to find that your car has been PlastiDipped Pink.
Plasti Dip a car pink? Sure, why not.
Watch out, because you could fall victim to finding your keyboard encased in Jello after you ask, “why aren’t there any creative pranks here?” So, good luck and don’t ask questions.
5. Celebrating Releases
After a release, it’s time to celebrate. What’s more fun than taking a shot (yes, just one) at the foot of the almighty Squidpope (the dev that has been designated to answer product questions throughout the week.)
Cheers to you, our fellow devs! Keep doing what you gotta do to get the job done.
The benevolent Squidpope.