Name: Neal Lindsay
Designation: Agent 008
Double Agent Role: Senior Software Consultant
Special Skills: Solving logic puzzles, broad trivia knowledge.
Aliases: @neall
Location: Hilliard, OH
Favorite Emoji: 🎊

It’s been kind of partially a personal project, but I have half-written a JavaScript test framework. It let me do some interesting things that I don’t normally do, like compiler things and transforming ASTs—things like that. I found it very interesting.

I am really looking forward to returning to doing in person retreats with the rest of the company. I miss seeing everybody else. That’ll be super nice.

Even though I don’t get to work directly with most of the people in the company on a day-to-day basis, it’s really nice knowing that I have so many capable people I can ask for help at nearly any time.

I think everybody making software wants to do it well, but at Test Double we have so many people with so much varied experience, I see people with insights into different parts of the software making process all the time. I feel like I just get smart by osmosis being, you know, virtually around them.

I’ve been thinking about how we know when we’re making the right abstractions. I remember, when I was first learning to program, I read a lot about the differences between low-level languages and high-level languages. At one point C was considered a high-level language, now it’s considered a low-level language. But if you think about the most “high-level” languages we have today, they’re not more high-level than, you know, 20 years ago. And it’s because we’ve been concentrating on increasing the expressiveness of our code through libraries, frameworks, and other larger abstractions.

Better abstractions are the driving force behind software developer productivity—they always have been—but where those bigger abstractions are has changed. The forefront is not in the language, it’s in the frameworks that we use, and also the abstractions that we write ourselves inside our codebases. And so it’s very important to think about what are useful abstractions and how we can concentrate on the best abstractions, because as software developers we’ve all seen bad abstractions that move us in the opposite direction. So it can definitely be done wrong.

My wife and I bought a house this year. We were not the only ones I guess to do that, but it’s nice to have, you know, a much better kitchen and a better room where I can have my home office. So we’re very happy with that.

I feel like a lot of people are going to have the same answer, and that’s travel. Cindy and I already have a beach vacation planned, and we have several plans currently working their way through the pipeline for travel. And we’re excited to get out there now that we’re all vaccinated.

Cindy and I enjoyed Wandavision a lot. It was a really interesting, novel framing that they used in the show. And I thought it was very well executed. It was exciting and creepy sometimes, and just an interesting show.

I think it has to be visiting our friends again. We hung out with our friends over Zoom some this past year, but seeing them in person will be a welcome change.

My wife and I own hundreds of boardgames. This is one of the things that we like to do in person with friends. We haven’t been able to do much over the past year, so we’re looking forward to exercising that collection a bit again. Let’s see, the first one that comes to mind—I don’t think it’s our favorite but it’s definitely a good one—is Pandemic. I think that’s probably just because pandemic is on our minds. There’s a board game called Lords of Waterdeep, which is a worker placement game, and it’s based on DND lore. I really like that, and I hope we play that one again soon.

This interview is based on a recorded conversation with Neal Lindsay and Cathy Colliver. It may or may not self-destruct.

Neal Lindsay

Hash An icon of a hash sign Code Name
Agent 008
Location An icon of a map marker Location
Columbus, Ohio

Cathy Colliver

Hash An icon of a hash sign Code Name
Agent 0080
Location An icon of a map marker Location
Louisville, KY