There Is No Magic. Only Bad Magicians.

Written by on Jan 20 2012

I’m surprised that there are still people that think Rails is magic or that’s there’s “too much magic in there.” Magic is really just not understanding how or why a library or any bit of code works. For libs I think it’s just fine if they’re magic. It’s just fine if a lib is a black box that you never have to look at. No one would ever complain that an OCR or graphing lib is too much magic, so why complain when any lib does stuff that you don’t understand? 

When people, even ruby folks, complain about magic it makes me think they simply haven’t taken the time to understand either the code or the framework/language/technology they’re using. Anytime I read a bit of code the curtain is pulled back, the magician’s tricks are revealed. This is true for Rails or anything else. After all, it’s just instructions that are stored in memory and executed as writen. 

If you think a particular lib has magic, just read the code. If you don’t understand the code than it’s a great opportunity to learn. We are all magicians. Our audience isn’t other developers, it’s the people who use the apps we write. They should be the ones who say “this is magic.”


Hi I'm Steven,

I wrote the article you're reading... I lead the developers, write music, used to race motorcycles, and help clients find the right features to build on their product.

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