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Insights / March 16, 2017

Go to the Source

By Kevin Bullock

It seems there comes a point in every work day when I dig into the source code of the open source library or framework on which I’m building. This is an incredibly powerful thing to have available.

Sure, I could just search the web to find the answer I need—after sifting through a dozen possibly conflicting, inaccurate, or irrelevant postings. Sometimes that works; sometimes it’s a disappointing waste of time.

One of the reasons we favor open source solutions is so that we don’t have to rely on forums or third party support to understand how things work. We can go right to the source and see what it’s doing. And if it’s not doing what it says it does, or working the way it should, we can fix it.

Going to the source dispels the hype that can otherwise surround a piece of software—or a news story. In this political and media climate, it’s especially important to make sure you’ve got the facts. When WikiLeaks says that the CIA compromised Signal and WhatsApp, it’s good for grabbing headlines, but as usual, the devil is in the details.

This week, go to the source—of your code, of your news, of whatever project or bit of information is in front of you—and use that knowledge to make it better.