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Cardboard Dogs and Rubber Ducks in Software Development

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Jessica in Indianapolis, Indiana, says her field of software development, rubber duck applies to a situation where you describe a problem you’re struggling with to someone else, and in the process of explaining it, you hit upon the solution, without any feedback from the listener — a conclusion you would also have reached if you’d simply taken the time to explain it simply to an animate object. This strategy of rubber duck programming was first recorded in a book called The Pragmatic Programmer (Bookshop|Amazon) by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt. Jessica reports that in her office, they also use the term cardboard dog in a similar way. This bit of developer slang appears to have been coined by Texas programmer Stephen J. Baker. This is part of a complete episode.

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