Implicit step zero

From triplescripts.org wiki

Implicit step zero is the step that natives of a particular ecosystem always leave out of their onboarding and setup instructions. Usually, this "step" is actually multiple steps, which are themselves some combination of tedious and/or deflating from the perspective of the uninitiated. Elsewhere, the onboarding and setup process (whether explicit or implicit) is referred to as "figging"[1].

Case studies[edit]

In 2020, jekylrb.com (jekyllrb.com archived), the homepage of the Jekyll static site generator is an especially good example. Jekyll is implemented in Ruby, and the Jekyll developers feel at home in the Ruby ecosystem. The Jekyll developers, therefore, are operating from a foregone conclusion that Ruby is available and that it will be an easy task for its audience to run Jekyll. There's an implicit assumption that a user's computer will have a system configuration that is close to the Jekyll developers' own machines. It is very likely the case, however, that a given user's machine does not have the necessary software to run Jekyll, since Jekyll's potential audience is the set of people that would find a static site generator to be useful, and not merely the set of all Ruby developers who is in the "market" for a static site generator. It is this assumption that is responsible for the fact that the Jekyll homepage boasts that one is able to "get up and running in seconds" (emphasized in the original) and presents a facsimile of a terminal emulator showing the three commands that comprise the Jekyll developers' "Quick-start Instructions" for newcomers.

The Jekyll folks—including its developers and its users—are experiencing a sort of "tunnel vision" that makes them blind to the the potential pitfalls that the uninitiated are likely encounter. On the Light Table blog, the Light Table team documents a generalization of this phenomenon under a post titled "Pain We Forgot".

Triple scripts were conceived as the way to tackle the problems associated with implicit step zero in traditional software development. The triplescripts.org group urges project creators and maintainers follow the ABCs of triple scripts to eradicate implicit step zero.

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