Friday, January 16, 2009

10 Years of Coding

I just realized that I have been writing code for roughly 10 years now. Well in 1999, I wrote my first "Hello World" program in Fundamentals of Computer Science.

Coding is fun. But it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be. Development time is measurable in months, not days. Pouring 100 hours into a project is just starting the project. Architecting the app is fun. But you never feel done.

I write most of my code in JavaScript and VB. 7 years ago I would have thought myself a drop-out of "real" programming. To be honest, in business, you rarely venture into the unknown because the expense is also unknown; and that is bad. But, both JavaScript and VB are not what they were 7 years ago. VB is as *real* as Python, although not as nearly as awesome; and JavaScript is fun because the results are almost always something interactive and tangible feeling.

10 years ago, I thought one programmer could write "Windows" in a decade, and do it better. Turns out coding is harder than I thought.

In 2000, I said that Linux would replace Windows by 2005. I was wrong. But Linux surpassed Windows in overall quality in 2007 (obviously my opinion).

I always thought I'd be coding really cool things in my spare time. Since I code all day. At night, I don't want too. I thought I would be able to code both at work and for fun at night. That appears not to be the case.

HTML is still here. Cross Browser testing is worse than ever before. Web site development is more difficult. The internet is more useful with Google, Pandora, Stumbleupon, Hulu, Facebook, Friend's Blogs, de-centralized news, etc.

Before you were a programmer what was your biggest misconception?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Old Code is Bad Code?

For the last six months or so, I've entertained myself far too much with Stumbleupon. I ran across this post (Never Fall in Love with Your Code, Because it's Crap). The basic premise is that what you once thought was great code, you have come to realize wasn't so great. I find this to be mostly false.

Sometimes I look back at code I wrote, and think. This is disgusting. Sometimes, I look back and think, that was brilliant. Actually, I rarely ever think my code is brilliant. I just try to make things work in a clear manner. That clear manner part sometimes gets me in trouble. I do things the hard way sometimes because I want to maintain that clean manner. And sometimes I don't. The times I don't are the times I will not look upon favorable in the future. Even if I do small, smart things within the large stupid framework I've made.

In some respects, I think I've grown dimmer. But I do have more experience and can solve *most* problems better. I think this is age. Older and slower, but more sure and reliable.

What about the other coders who read my blog? Do you think of all your old code as terrible, and the new code as great?