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Aleksandar Gosevski

Unveiling the Balkan Mentality in Programming


Drawing interesting connections, it seems that programmers often share a similar mindset with the Serbian approach to constructing houses. While Serbians build homes intended to last for centuries, they embrace each day with a live-for-the-moment mentality. This intriguing comparison can be extended to how programmers tackle their projects.

Exploring the Approach

Recently, I found myself working on a ten-year-old project with more contributors than some companies have employees. The codebase was built using the Zend PHP framework, and the templates were crowded with countless script and style tags. Initially, I felt a bit disheartened by the assignment, but as I delved into the intricate code jungle, it surprisingly became an enjoyable experience. The product team had promised a complete app rewrite once our tasks were finished, and this “end justifies the means” mindset emerged. The focus shifted to making things work, knowing that improvements could be made later. Having all the code in one place made it remarkably easy to comprehend each component of the app.

Balancing Efficiency and Realism:

Programmers always strive for efficiency, aiming for code that is decoupled, abstract, and extensible. However, it’s worth noting that many of the applications we develop often end up abandoned or requiring updates only every few years. Returning to an old project often leads to dissatisfaction. First, we notice how our coding style has evolved over time. Second, we become aware of our past limitations and lack of skills. Lastly, we realize that the frameworks, libraries, or programming languages we employed might have become outdated, deprecated, or fallen out of favor.

Striking the Right Balance

Despite these factors, it’s crucial to continue finding fulfillment in our work and relishing the challenges it presents. However, it is also prudent to keep certain considerations in mind. When faced with a straightforward task, it’s important to resist the urge to overcomplicate it. Avoid solving problems that do not yet exist, as this can lead to unnecessary complexities and delays.