Static typing as mistake-proofing

Video by FastCapI’ve always been a fan of statically typed programming languages for my own work, simply because it makes my life easier. My mother always told me “the compiler is your friend” and I like the fact that lots of stupid mistakes I make get caught before the machine will even think about running my code. It’s one thing less to try to keep in my brain, and that’s always welcome.

So I was also amused by this tweet a while back, from Richard Wallace:

If we started calling type systems “automated test frameworks,” I wonder how many JS devs would clamor for them.

Meanwhile I saw a terrific little video the other day showing a great example of Lean-inspired mistake-proofing. It’s by Paul Akers, who runs a US manufacturing company, and who loves to show off how his operation works. (See loads more on YouTube.) In this one he demonstrates poka-yoke, aka mistake-proofing. I love the simplicity and effectiveness of his wooden jig. But it reminded me also about why I love static typing. Static typing is mistake-proofing—an unexpected example of Lean in action.