a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

this thought:

if you think open source code has utility for users (which, as someone who uses software, i do), then one of the implied obligations is to think of the code itself as an interface to the software.

a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

importantly, not just an interface for the specialists who work on that software full-time, but one that offers useful inroads and structures for end-users and third party observers.

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a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

this falls naturally out of most of the ways that i think users do actually benefit from open code, but it's also something i haven't confronted directly in a lot of the things i produce, even as i confront it _all the time_ in "oh shit, here we go, reading the code again" moments.

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a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

@brennen Well hmm, so that includes documenting APIs, file formats, structure of the code (or at least making them clear) - not sure what else comes under that.

a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

@penguin42 yeah, all of that. i'd also say having extremely clear entry points for reading and tracing pathways, choosing well-named identifiers, avoiding cleverness in most contexts and explaining it where it can't be helped, isolating the inevitable deeply hacky stuff within clearly labeled boxes...

a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

@penguin42 but beyond that sort of thing i think it might also be about ways to treat code as a working object that can be manipulated and repurposed.

clear build instructions, clear debugging mechanisms, repls, logs, ways to inspect state, easy paths for extracting working pieces or forking the whole shebang. keeping things at a humanly approachable scale.

a computer idea i fell asleep thinking about 

@brennen That last one is the hard bit; projects seem to grow and grow to scale beyond which any one person can get their head around. As we develop new tools/languages we use the added power to make more complicated things.

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