A programmer's cognitive load

Posted on July 11, 2017

Today I came across an article about the cognitive load a programmer carries. There are comics out there that sum it up really well. I wanted to run through the key points made here and how they relate to myself as a WordPress designer/developer.

Fonts & Spacing

I change my editor colors, syntax highlighting, font family, size and spacing like some people change their shoes. I don’t really follow along with the science behind why typography makes you feel a certain way. I will say though that when I do make a switch I feel a boost of productivity. I once read a study where a corporation did experiments to see what made employees more productive. Nothing increased it more than changing things that didn’t necessarily affect the process of doing the work itself.

Code Folding

Code folding is something I admittedly don’t do a lot of. I don’t really have a need for it since when I’m writing classes I try to keep them as short as possible ( and as abstracted as necessary ).

DocBlocks

Sublime Text 2 has an excellent DocBlock plugin that let’s you quickly write your documentation for classes, functions, etc. Having these comes in handy for being able to remember why you did something 6 months ago. That is what I mostly rely on inline documentation for.

Naming Things

Of all the duties on the job that causes mental anguish naming things is most likely at the top. It is just plain hard to apply a name to something. Recently I have been reminding myself to spend less time thinking about it and just give things a self explanatory name. Thanks to abstract and DRY development if I need to change the name in the future it’s neverĀ that big of a problem.