Deleting With Empathy

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

When creating a project— besides having a working minimum viable product (MVP) — one of my main objectives is to allow others (and my future self) the ability to easily set up a development environment. The idealized version of that looks something like this:

  • git clone
  • cd the_repository
  • make install
  • make run

The one-command install requires a bit of extra work on your part, but it makes getting up and running a breeze for developers down the line. I like to use makefiles to get things set up — but anything really will do.

Deleting With Empathy

One of the things I like to do once a month is something I call “deleting with empathy”. Every month, I completely delete my local development environment for a shared repository.

The idea behind it is that if I’ve set it up properly, this action should be inconsequential; I should only require a few extra keystrokes to be back where I was ten minutes prior.

Even if I’ve built a one-command install script, it can so often drift from the actual processes required to get a repository up and running. Deleting with empathy allows me to periodically review if it’s functional, and change anything that needs to be fixed.



Ryder Damen is a DevOps engineer by day, and also a DevOps engineer by night. He enjoys travelling, trying new things and making the web a stranger place.

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