The Power of Defaults

‘The Power of Defaults’ – Gramener’s Bhanu Kamapantula shares his out­look.

The Power of Default Settings
Image Courtesy: http://theartofdoing.com/the-google-doodler/ 

Why does your fa­vor­ite tooth­pas­te ad­vert­ise­ment show a brush full of pas­te when a frac­tion of it will solve the pur­pose?

Defaults have im­mense power in a way we don’t of­ten real­ize. The de­fault price of the ve­get­able you get at the mandi is Rs. 13 un­less you bar­gain. The de­fault com­pens­a­tion you are offered to work is Rs. X un­less you ne­go­ti­ate. The de­fault op­tions in your Facebook or Quora ac­count is to send re­mind­er emails prompt­ing your act­ive par­ti­cip­a­tion on their so­cial net­work. The de­fault op­tion in many smart­phone ap­plic­a­tions is to use your loc­a­tion, even for a mes­saging ap­plic­a­tion. Drawing a sim­il­ar par­al­lel to pro­gram­ming en­vir­on­ments, the de­fault set­tings in your cod­ing en­vir­on­ment of­fer you only so much un­til you con­fig­ure fur­ther.

Defaults have the power to im­prove (sim­il­arly worsen) productivity/life ex­po­nen­tially. Consider the be­low pro­cess that de­velopers at Gramener, in gen­er­al, fol­low.

Step 1) Write code, test func­tion­al­ity

Step 2) Push to a re­mote re­pos­it­ory post suc­cess­ful test­ing

Step 3) Check build er­rors from con­tinu­ous in­teg­ra­tion

Step 4) Update code and re­peat from Step 2 un­til the latest build passes the tests.

Build er­rors could oc­cur due to sev­er­al reas­ons (more on this, in the next blog post)

1) Exceeding de­fault line length

2) Unused vari­ables

3) Redundant code

4) Indentation

5) Trailing whitespace

6) Other PEP8 re­com­mend­a­tions: 2 blank lines be­fore func­tion defin­i­tion, over-indentation, blank lines at file end etc.

There are ways to catch these be­fore you push the code. Python Lint plug-in helps en­sure the above checks. Javascript has a sim­il­ar Linter plug-in.

Defaults have a way to im­prove people’s lives. Whether you are build­ing dash­boards or writ­ing soft­ware or train­ing new tal­ent or buy­ing a new pro­duct, re­mem­ber the power of de­faults, lever­age them and im­prove the pro­ductiv­ity (your chances).