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’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the startup
were grim engineers who had taken old BART up
to put out a fire that users had found;
they hacked and they Slacked but did not make a sound.

No presents, no stockings, no holiday cheer;
there was only LaCroix and some leftover beer.
Management, too, were awake in their beds,
while visions of bankruptcy danced in their heads.

The bug was quite bad, a security flaw
that was pushed in September, but nobody saw.
“That PR was huge! How could we review it?!”
cried one righteous soul, the one who approved it.

“I explained in the comments that you didn’t read,”
typed the perp and then added a “frown” emoji.
Then out of that chat there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Nathaniel was shouting, his face like a cherry;
Yvette clenched her fists and hissed softly, “How dare he…
we’re only here now because he can’t write tests:
they’re frequently mocked and quite flaky at best.”

The office exploded into disarray.
Small packs of free snacks were flung into the fray.
Away to my laptop, I flew like a flash
and tore open Terminal, typed out some Bash.
Our network went quickly from stable to dead;
the arguments halted, and that’s when I said:

“Folks, this is tiring for everyone here,
but if we keep fighting, I have a small fear
that this bug won’t be fixed, and you know what that means:
our users will tweet about all of these things.”

Dead silence came after my two-sentence speech.
But suddenly up from above came a screech,
vehicular rum’blings, the thud of hard boots,
and we heard muffled sounds from within the mail chute.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
but a man wearing red and a grin ear to ear.
A bundle of something was flung on his back,
and he looked big enough to consume a small yak.

“GOOD EVENING!” he roared at us. “HOW GOES THE BUG?
I FEEL LIKE EACH ONE OF YOU NEEDS A QUICK HUG.”
And he went for me then, but I held up my hand:
“Mr. Claus, we’re quite busy; this fix needs to land.”

“NO WORRIES!” he bellowed, “FOR THAT’S WHY I’M HERE.
I’LL TEACH YOU MY WAYS IN EXCHANGE FOR A BEER.”
He reached in his bag and produced an old Dell,
woke it up with a punch and cracked open a shell.

He tinkered a moment, then showed us the screen,
beribboned with colors — bright red and green.
Diligent elves pushed commits for their toys,
ensuring perfection for all girls and boys.

“MY GIFTS ARE DELIVERED CONTINUOUSLY,
AND YOURS SHOULD BE TOO SO YOU ALL CAN BE FREE
OF DEBUGGING A FAULT INTRODUCED IN THE PAST.
CHECK IT ONCE, CHECK IT TWICE, AND YOU’LL SEE THAT IT LASTS.”

Then he slammed the lid shut, and I grabbed him a Guinness,
which he downed in one swallow; the man was all business.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the mail chute he rose.

We sat there uncertain, confused and perplexed.
I heard a soft jingle — I had a new text.
“REMEMBER!” it read. “THERE’S NO MAGIC IN THIS.
IT TAKES WORK AND GOOD TEST SUITES, JUST LIKE MY LIST.”

And I laughed when I saw this, in spite of myself;
who knew that the mythical, jolly old elf
could be so well-versed in the art of deploys?
His visit was timely and brimming with joy.

I brought us online, and it didn’t take long
to fix the sly bug and then go play Ping-Pong.
I sat down to rewrite our quarterly goals,
including CI and CD as two poles.
(Not North Poles, mind you, because that’s for the Claus,
magnetic poles acting as engineer laws.)

I sent out an email, a sleek manifesto,
describing (in detail) our plans, and hey presto!
The missive was launched into virtual space,
while all through the office, folks cheered and embraced.

They sprang to their phones and made last-minute plans,
called loved ones and Ubers, both in high demand.
And I, in my hoodie, sat down at my desk,
finally able to take a deep breath.
And off in the distance, I heard a voice cry:

“HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, NOW try CircleCI!”


Inspired by A Visit from St. Nicholas. Image source here.