Dear Programmer,

Hello. I hope you remember me. I'm that one piece of code you wrote a few years ago. Do you remember? I hope you do, because I cannot forget you. I am writing because I have something important to say, and I fear that one day you'll be gone and I will not have the chance to say it. I just want to tell you how grateful I am that you brought me into this world and made me open. We don't often say this, but thank you.

I didn't always make things easy for you. Remember when I stack dumped for days? You spent hours trying to fix me. Despite all the pain I caused you, you persevered. Commit after commit you committed to me, and I thank you for that. I even forgive you for sending me to the recycling bin for an hour... water under the bridge.

I want to tell you where I am now, what I have become. I want to you be proud of me. I know you programmers try not to identify yourselves with the code you write... always saying "I am not my code". I understand that you don't want to feel the sting of criticism directed at me, and so you dissociate yourself from me. What you fail to see is that even in the deplorable state I was in when you first opened me up to the world... I was, and still am, valuable.

I've solved people's problems. I've made lives easier. Over time, other programmers fixed my issues, they cleaned me up, they changed the way I look and feel, and they learned from me. Some developers may have gawked at my less elegant parts... but deep down, underneath all their 'well actually' and their head-cocks, they were grateful that I existed. They were thrilled that they didn't have to spend the hours struggling with me like you did. I was valuable to them. You were valuable to them.

I am now part of a number of different programs. My value is known. You may think I am the only one, but I've talked to some of the other work you opened up. You remember that little Gist you posted on your blog? Did you know that little guy is now used by both a major banking company and a small startup in the Midwest? Did you know that one of the pull requests you submitted saved a company millions in down time? Did you know a little girl built her first robot with that snippet you left on a forum? You have no idea the reach that you have.

I could go on, but I've said enough. Thank you for creating me, thank you for opening me up to the world. You are my programmer and I am your code.


That One Piece of Code