Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Open Letters

Dear Authors of the Software Library I'm Working With,

If you provide a base class that I need to subclass in order to provide certain functionality, and your base class has a simple getter and setter method (such as getDebugMode and setDebugMode) whose purpose is obviously just to encapsulate a private int within the class, then please do not declare these methods as pure virtual and force me to implement them. Even assuming that there was a legitimate reason to include functionality in these methods besides the obvious, there's no reason not to provide a default implementation which just gets and sets a private int. Forcing me to implement textbook one-line getter/setter methods makes me feel like I'm being forced to participate in a Computer Science 101 exam.

Regards,
Don

...

Dear Patrons of The Gym I Go To,

For whatever reason, the towel supplies at our gym are somewhat limited, and experience has shown that the gym laundry service can occasionally be unreliable. There have been several occurrences during peak hours where the locker room has been without towels for lengthy periods of time, which , I'm sure you'll agree, is inconvenient for everyone involved.

To that end, for the past several years, every available surface in the locker room has been plastered with signs requesting that all patrons limit themselves to one towel. It is impossible to attend the gym without being confronted by one of these reminders of the scarcity of supply and of the need to be mindful of the existence of your fellow guests.

So what, exactly, goes through your mind when you take two or three towels for yourself? Are you being deliberately hostile to the rest of us, or have you somehow managed to convince yourself that the extra towels you took are some sort of magic towels that automatically reproduce themselves after you take them? Or is there something inherently special and valuable about your existence that means that it's more important for you to use an extra towel just to dry your feet while you get dressed, than it is for someone else to get to work on time?

I hope that you will take the time to contemplate these questions and take the appropriate actions in the future.

Regards,
Don

...

Dear Creator of the Universe,

I look forward to discussing several implementation flaws in your product at some point in the future. I have several suggestions for a patch or hotfix.

I am not at this time demanding a refund, as I intend to be using your product indefinitely; however, I believe that there are several opportunities for improving the overall experience for all of your registered users.

Regards,
Don