Arch  Hessel

Arch Hessel


Everyone Loves Your Code Formatting (and Other Lies)

You probably believe that good code is neat code. It’s carefully indented, consistently spaced, and grouped around sensible line breaks. Ideas hang together in logical units, separated by judiciously placed blank lines. And most of all, it’s built to last. Good code makes sense even when it’s read back months later.

And if you’re a self-respecting, half-decent software developer, you probably believe that this is your code.

But something doesn’t add up. We’ve spent years — no, decades—refining our code style, adopting practices like clean code, and switching to higher-level programming languages where we aren’t nearly as close to the bare metal and we can afford to be more verbose. But somehow, we’re still drowning in disordered code. In fact, reading code is often nearly as difficult as writing it, a fact that has lured more than a few well-intentioned developers into rewriting bits of software that didn’t need to be touched.


Everyone Loves Your Code Formatting (and Other Lies)