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Deleting With Empathy

Ryder Damen
Hey everyone! I'm Ryder. I'm a scientist-turned software engineer, and I love to build small side projects that help people.
・1 min read

When creating a project — besides having a working minimum viable product (MVP) — one of my main objectives is to allow others (and my future self) the ability to easily set up a development environment.

The idealized version of that looks something like this:

git clone
cd the_repository
make install
make run

The one-command install requires a bit of extra work on my part, but it makes getting up and running a breeze for developers down the line. I like to use makefiles to get things set up — but anything really will do.

One of the things I like to do once a month is something I call “deleting with empathy”. Every month or so, I completely delete my local development environment for a shared repository.

The idea behind it is that if I’ve set it up properly, this action should be inconsequential; I should only require a few extra keystrokes to be back where I was ten minutes prior.

Even if I’ve built a one-command install script, it can so often drift from the actual processes required to get a repository up and running. Deleting with empathy allows me to periodically review if it’s functional, and change anything that needs to be fixed.

What are your thoughts? Do you often find your setup documentation drifts? Do you have one-command installation scripts?

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