Use the tools at your disposition

Roel M. Hogervorst


Categories: thoughts Tags: tools formatting r python

I too often see people do things the hard way, even though it does not help them, and it does not bring them joy. COMPUTERS ARE FOR STUPID REPETITIVE WORK, USE THEM. During my bachelor I had to write my papers, and specifically the citations in the APA style and we were not allowed citation managers or even told of their existence. Now I get practicing how to write citations correctly once or twice, but for 4 long years^[Bsc in NL are 3 years so I was a slow student] I didn’t even know there was a set of tools that could do all the mindboggingly stupid work for me^[again, I am a slow student]!

In my current work I use a lot of python and we have multiple checks to make sure the code is written according the the python style guide (PEP8) and that we use typehints correctly. If you think professionals don’t use automated formatters you are mistaken; we use automated tools all the time. If someone tells you otherwise they are jerks or don’t have experience^[But probably jerks, who would keep tools from you that make you more productive?]. For formatting python code Black is absolutely phenomonal, and for SQL and shell scripts we use autoformatters too. I’m a big fan of styler in R. We use editors that help us jump around the code, spotting errors, or generating parts of our code. I’m a good programmer, but I forget nitpicky things all the time! But the tools around me make sure I don’t make the same mistakes all the time. That is literally what they are for:

Stupid mindless repetitive precise work.

So if you don’t enjoy repeating yourself^[I have met people who really enjoy this, and I’m jealuous and clearly wired differently ]: Let the tools around you help you.