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Once upon a time I was invited to work on a Rewrite it in Rust project of a large industrial automation codebase.

Dream job! Crab with a knife

I happened to be the first one to arrive at the scene and start the project.

While I have successfully started (and abandoned) many a rust hobby project, this was the first time it was going to be a large commercial endeavor, which was going to be developed by more than one person full-time.

No pressure. This is fine meme

I am used to work in a team or at least in a duo so there is always someone to bounce my ideas off of but here for the first several months there was virtually no one else working on this. Other developers were busy fighting fires with the current system.

I realized that the amount of things on my mind was vastly greater than what my brain could hold without potentially good ideas spilling into the void so I started writing things down in a single markdown file. While it wasn't the first time I used a swap space for solving a problem, it was the first time the amount of information was longer than a single page and potentially useful in the long run. Benchmark results, architectural ideas and personal feelings about the project, all went into the file.

After a year of working on that project, this turned out to be one of the best ideas. I was able to organize, prioritize and most importantly unload all those (good and bad) ideas from my brain and reference them later when revisiting respective areas.

I wanted to write freely without worrying about an NDA, so the repository with the ideas was closed to the world, and after my stint with the project was over I realized that a lot of knowledge is left in the working diary repo.

There is a lot of good documentation at the new place and there are people to collaborate with so while there's still definitely need for documenting architectural decisions, free-form mind-flow is now in lower demand at work while the habit of writing things down still lives.


I tried writing things down at work, it turned out great, now I will be doing that for non-work stuff as well.