Brandon Savage: Hating Old Code Is a Sign Of Growth

Hating old code is a sign of growth.
Note: Brandon Savage is a PHP developer whose newsletter “Modernization Tips in under 100 words” holds a wealth of ideas for developers of all stripes. From time to time, I repeat some of these here, attributed to Brandon, of course. 

In late 2021 I took a hard look at some code I wrote back in 2013. I hated it. The design was all wrong, it didn’t follow best practices or good standards, and it was a mess. A product of its time, sure: there were no type hints, no return value definitions, and no Psalm annotations to process. But it was still ugly and I was embarrassed.

Ever have this experience? Hear the good news: it’s normal, and perfectly fine.

Writing code is a learning process, from day one to the day you stop doing it for good. You’re always growing, always improving. It’s like reading your writing from high school: you’re a better writer today than you ever were then.

If you hate your old code, it’s a sign of growth, in you and in your skills. Don’t concern yourself with how awful the old code is; focus on making the new code great, and bring the old code to the new standard.