A long time ago, in a land far away, lived a software wizard that was capable of grand magic. They built gardens, libraries, temples, castles. They created life where there wasn’t, and cleared the path where it was unsafe.

And then they disappeared, and even though they left behind books and notes, none of their apprentices were able to learn the craft. Since then, nobody was able to use any of the tools of the great mage, and the creations kept working for only a few years, when finally even the last stone that was placed crumbled into sand.

Sounds familiar? Software often feels the same: we’re all magicians that force a piece of sand into semi-rational thought, but what will happen when everyone moves on, and nothing works as expected anymore?

This talk explores the problems that arise from breaking compatibility with existing tools, how to prevent those breakages from happening, and what to look for as a software maintainer.

While I cannot guarantee that you will build indestructible magical fortresses with my tips, I can at least help you make sure that your work will live on with other people picking it up, and hopefully appreciating the stability that you worked towards.

Comments

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Very interactive 👍 and great reminder for everyone to write stable code

Ian Littman at 16:57 on 10 Nov 2019

Nicely done. Now, redo your slides using something more reliable ;)

Great talk. Makes you think twice before you commit/release something

A really fun talk and approach about a really serious topic. It was a good reminder for all open-source contributors to check everything before they do a PR.