Building Consensus: Agreeing on Rules for our Massive C++ codebase

Sherry Sontag

⏱ 20 minute session
14:45-15:05, Friday, 19th April 2024
This talk traces our continuing effort to build consensus among thousands of engineers for how we use C++ at Bloomberg. The specific example is our work to introduce naming conventions for our huge C++ codebase that spans more than 40,000 packages and hundreds of millions lines of code.

We will describe our process and the challenges of trying to balance the needs of hundreds of teams, sharing our early mistakes and ultimate success. Attendees should be able to apply what we learned to their own organizations when introducing their own set of C++ rules.

The talk also highlights the value of journalism skills in approaching engineering questions. Most important are the willingness to seek out all sides of a question; being humble enough to truly listen to even your loudest critics; and the endurance to keep asking questions until the issues become completely clear.

Our outreach effort has led us to talk to hundreds of people across many different application and infrastructure teams with different needs and coding styles. As automatic validation was turned on, we found ourselves both responsible for training and for adjusting the rules to realities we hadn’t considered.Our outreach is ongoing.

🏷 C++; Naming; Rules; Consensus; Libraries; infrastructure; applications

Sherry Sontag

Bio: Sherry Sontag came to Bloomberg Engineering after co-authoring “Blind Man’s Bluff,” a New York Times bestseller about submarine espionage during the Cold War. Hired by Bloomberg 17 years ago for her ability to talk to anyone and actually listen, she recently has been working to create community consensus among developers as part of the Code Governance Solutions team. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Barnard College, Columbia University.