Code Hospitality

- Tags: software with living structure

Recently on the Greater than Code podcast there was an episode called "Code Hospitality", by Nadia Odunayo.

Nadia talks about thinking of how to make people comfortable in your code and in your team/organization/etc., and does it in terms of thinking about host/guest relationships. Have you ever stayed in an AirBnB where the host carefully prepares some "welcome instructions" for you, or puts little notes in their apartment to orient/guide you, or gives you basic guidance around their city's transportation system? We can think in similar ways of how to make people comfortable with code bases.

This of course hit me on so many levels, because in the past I've written about analogies between software and urbanism/architecture. Software that has the Quality Without A Name talks about Christopher Alexander's architecture/urbanism patterns in the context of software, based on Richard Gabriel's ideas, and Nikos Salingaros's formalization of the design process. Legacy Systems as Old Cities talks about how GNOME evolved parts of its user-visible software, and makes an analogy with cities that evolve over time instead of being torn down and rebuilt, based on urbanism ideas by Jane Jacobs, and architecture/construction ideas by Stewart Brand.

I definitely intend to do some thinking on Nadia's ideas for Code Hospitality and try to connect them with this.

In the meantime, I've just rewritten the README in gnome-class to make it suitable as an introduction to hacking there.