Why I Started Using “Poop” As Variable

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Not very many are going to understand this unless they’ve worked at a startup or at a company that pushes their workers to get code working with very little testing.

The “poop” variable in coding is very funny and very real. I personally started using this out of anger and i know other programmers have done the same.

Several companies ago I was pushed to build something per customer expectations. So I did. I built the thing that was needed, and I handed out the URLs to our PM to let the customer review.  I later came to find out that not only did the customer approve of it but also the PM just made it live without my permission and then told me that “you can’t do anything until a maintenance window.” At that point I was mad and there was a lot of back and forth on why they would hand overproof and the only response I got was “oh the customer needed it now, great work!”

Because of this, I started a new practice. When I’m testing, building, or requiring review of a new thing I’m building I’ll use testing-only, not-prod, not-ready-yet, and (my favorite to use at the very beginning) poop. Why poop you ask? Well, I was screwed several times when I was building a “test” or “preview.” It was called good enough and pushed into production without finishing the work that was needed. At this past company, this was very, very common to the point where I finally got mad and started using var.x = “poop” on everything. The name of the resources built, the URL, the names in files, all poop. It was fantastic. This naming convention really saved my bacon several times after this due to the fact that things that were not ready to be used in prod couldn’t even be used due to the naming. So no more “pre-releases” without review.

Now I always build things with silly names and it gives me a little safety net that I no longer need to worry about it “magically” becoming customer-facing overnight.

10/10 would recommend implementing.

PS: I can see a lot of people reading this and going “God why did they build in prod to test?” Answer: it was stupid and I can’t remember all the reasons but it was not my idea. #Startups #DoItLive