General question about code reading: Do you like or dislike digging into legacy code bases?
It depends. In theory, I like it. I (especially my introvert, monastic side) like the idea of diving into something, not understanding it, and being able to build understanding purely through exploring the codebase. In practice, I’m continuously frustrated by how difficult I find building this understanding and the discrepancy between how much understanding I get from reading code and from talking to its original author (hat tip to akkartik for showing me Programming as Theory Building, which explores this phenomenon in detail).
I also go back and forth on whether I think code-reading independent of interacting with the code via testing it, running it, and using other tooling on it is valuable for building a useful mental model of it (usefulness measured by ability to modify the code).
The pain with legacy code bases isn’t reading them, it’s reading them so you can meet a deadline by extending it.