DIY, Paint-Drips, and Code Refactoring

I’m moving soon! So, for various reasons, I am doing a whole load of painting-and-decorating to prepare to rent out my current flat. Today I was putting the final coat of enamel onto a radiator, and while doing this I was really noticing the remnants of old paint-drips that I had not quite sanded away in my preparation. Now, overall, I know the radiator will look a lot better tomorrow than it did a couple of days ago… but I still find those historic drips bothersome!

And then it struck me that this was a little bit like code-refactoring. When you refactor old, outdated, or simply bad code, it’s really, really difficult to remove all the drips; all the historic artifacts of badness that you might wish you’d sanded-away when you look at the code tomorrow. Worse still, perhaps, you may add a few drips yourself, and it may be hard to see them because of our own blindness to our own mistakes… and it’s hard to see your drips from the historic ones.

But tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll look at that radiator and see the improvements, it will still have been worth it. And if at some point in the future someone just sees the drips; well lucky them. It was worse once.

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