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Discussion on: Livable code, embrace the practical mess

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Carlos Pires

Actually, I now take back the first statement in my previous reply because I guess that fostering this kind of discussion was the point of your article.

Regarding professionalism, for starters it should be noted that there are levels. So, one is never required to be perfect at everything at all times. But there are basic levels of professionalism. Though these levels are a bit fuzzy, in every industry there is a somewhat clear set of best practices and basic knowledge required for the professions in that industry. Basic knowledge is usually consolidated by academia and professional institutions (e.g., IEEE, ECMA, W3C, etc.). Best practices come from individual or collective professionals in the field, like Bob Martin, Martin Fowler, Mozilla, Apache, etc. There are also standards bodies and compilations of knowledge (see for instance ).

If a person doesn't know the best practices and/or basic knowledge in a particular field, I would venture to say that that person, at that time, is not a professional in that particular field. In a professional setting, that person can, at best, be a junior/intern/apprentice, and their work always has to be supervised.

Of course, best practices are always shifting and evolving. So, I would add a couple other requirements:
1) the ability to keep up with best practices;
2) the ability to contribute to the revision of best practices.