This is my story about the name:


A lot of years ago I was working in a team and trying to crack a difficult problem. We had discussed the problem in the team a couple of days earlier, but not found an acceptable solution. So I put it aside for a couple of days and worked on other important stuff. When taking up the problem again and searching the net for solutions, I came across a really elegant solution to the problem.

I studied the strategy that the coder had chosen. Not only was the code written by a highly skilled developer – it was also clear, elegant and “to the point”. And that to a degree where I got the good, old aha experience. It was pretty clear that this was premium stuff.

While poking around in the code I was sitting at my desk with a big smile on my face and one of my colleagues noticed and came over. When he saw the code, he had the exact same reaction; this code just filled him with joy. More team mates came by and soon there was laughter and everyone was talking about how cool this code was. This would have been quite a sight to non-geeks!!

Since it was around lunchtime, we all went to lunch together and had a joyful time. Everyone was telling anecdotes about fun and cool coding adventures and similarly cool code and software they knew about.

The rest of the day, the whole team was in a light and happy spirit. And in the following days, team mates came by me and told more stories.


This story stayed with me ever since. At first this story might seem a bit off, but when you think about it, code is produced by humans and the code’s strategy on solving a specific problem is reflecting the coder’s creativity, professional skills and ability to communicate.

I have had this experience again a couple of times, but not this intense. There are also times when I just think “that’s a damn good idea” and admire the guy that got the first thought.

It’s like a “show me your code and I will tell who you are”-thing.

I have also seen plenty of measly looking code. Code that hasn’t been taken care of. Sometimes it makes me sad – but well, I guess I mostly get sad about why it’s produced, why it’s such a mess or how anyone will deliver stuff that buggy or incomplete.

Also old enterprise code tend to be inconsistent and overly complex, and often reflects that too many developers have messed with it over time. Each adding their own style and constructs. In Danish, we have a saying: “too many cooks will produce a bad meal” that I think covers here.

But when I think about the “soul in the code”, it’s mostly about the elegant, clever and surprising code. The code that makes you happy.


So now you know what’s in the name for me.