Talk:2140: Reinvent the Wheel

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 19:25, 22 April 2019 by (talk)
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I took a screenshot of google image search at 2:24 PM ET on 4/22/2019, and a bicycle wheel is indeed the first result. I'm trying to figure out how to get my image into the wiki ;p 18:25, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

(same user) Man! I found an old account I made and logged in with it to upload a file, but it says I need special permission to do so! Baffo32 (talk) 18:33, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
If somebody with permission could upload this, it would be great: Baffo32 (talk) 18:43, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

Looks like beret guy is working for an automotive startup, possibly one of the many software companies that are developing AI for self-driving cars? It is true that tires are made by outside suppliers (not by the auto companies) so in terms of software development tires could be called "external dependencies". However, tires are far from a semi-random selection as intimated here. A large amount of time and effort is spent developing special tires for each vehicle model to give the best possible compromise between many conflicting requirements such as: dry/wet/snow traction, noise, ride, wear, high speed durability (for high performance cars) and so on, the complete list has many more items.

If Randall is looking for new tires for his vehicle, I offer my standard recommendation: If you were fairly happy with the tires that came with the car, try and replace them with the closest possible equivalent to take advantage of the original development effort. This is not always possible, and of course if you are using the vehicle for a special purpose (mostly drive on dirt roads, use your car in weekend autocross competition, etc.), you may do better with something different. 18:36, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

This comic could also be talking about coding, where reinventing the wheel is writing your own code from scratch, as there is other code which works perfectly well. This makes particular sense as the "external dependencies" could be in terms of code as well Gollum (talk) 18:45, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

I think the point is that their company is having to reinvent their cars to fit each dependency wheel, rather than develop a wheel that will fit their preexisting car. For cars, wheels are for the most part interchangeable, but external dependencies in software are very much not so.

I suspect this is a comment on JavaScript (JS) coding for the web, specifically the NPM node.js package manager. I'm not a front-end Web developer, but apparently lots of web pages use NPM to pull down dependencies, bits of code to accomplish some task, rather than write it new (thus, avoid 'reinventing the wheel'). The problem is there's poor control over what those dependencies do and how they might get modified on you unexpectedly. See the Wikipedia article on NPM for some history of bad breakages that have occurred.