This week, we started learning about automated testing at Lambda School. In particular, we studied unit testing or the testing of units of code using software called test runners. There are many kinds of test runners out there, such as Mocha, Chai, Jasmine, Enzyme, and Karma, but the one we’re using is Jest which was built by the same team who gave us React.
The reason for doing tests should be obvious: (1) you want to make sure that your code actually works before you ship it to your users; (2) it gives you the confidence that your code won’t break or regress as long as you’re constantly testing your product while developing it and before pushing your commits to your Git repository; and (3) you gain a deeper understanding of how an application works by testing each of its features.
Well, while writing the tests in VS Code this morning and checking the terminal for their status, I was just struck by the beauty of it all — you know, coding, text editors, terminals, descriptive git commits, and so on.
Now, this is a very strange thing to say (for me, at least). When we speak of something as being beautiful, we’re usually referring to things like paintings, poems, novels, short stories, books, architecture, films, sculpture, scenery, songs, Nature, or the face of a person — but codes, terminals, and text editors?
But it is true. Codes (properly organized and written) and text editors (with the right theme and layout) can be, or are, beautiful.
Just take a look at this screenshot I made of my editor and code. The theme is Cobalt Blue by Wes Bos and the project, as I mentioned, is unit testing.
I don’t know about you, but it just strikes me as beautiful, or at the very least, aesthetically appealing. (Or am I just too much of a nerd?)
So since that’s the case (that codes and text editors can be or are beautiful), doesn’t it follow that the programmer, developer, or engineer writing the code is actually acting as an artist? She then is not merely “typing” lines of texts that compose a piece of software or product; she is actually molding into being an art piece. The more concise, functional, and well-written a code is, the more it has beauty in its simplicity and symmetry. What this implies is that the coder, whoever he or she is, has actually an obligation to make his code and product beautiful.
Just a thought as I continue my journey as a Software Engineer at Lambda School.
Text Editors (and Codes) Are Things of Beauty was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.