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?

1 comment:

Rose said...

That was a good idea for a post, Jeremy. I hadn't really thought about that.

I definately had a few ideas about the future that turned out to be wrong. In highschool I figured I'd go work for Big Business, but at some point in college, I decided that I'd probably end up not. I was wrong!

I agree with your sentiment that programming is more time-consuming and difficult than I initially thought it would be. What's funny now that I think about that is how outsiders either think it's magic, or when they want something, they assume it's easy. If you come up with a realistic estimate, it always sounds longer than what someone thinks of without thinking.

What's enlightening for me is that I thought that it would be less the case with a small company like where you work. I assumed you would be able to produce products faster because there's less process in your way.

One thing that surprises me is that people aren't taking advantage of each other's code to a greater degree. You learned about OO in college and thought "Okay, people are going to be creating these classes to give to other people". Instead, you have a lot of people reinventing the wheel. I'm still not convinced that it isn't possible for things to be the way I imagined, but the overhead seems to make it unnattractive.

I do code in my spare time, sometimes. Not too often though. I get the same way about just wanting to veg out when I get home. When I do code something just for kicks, it ends up on http://viewthesource.org.