This number now in service
The old Typo-driven Coderspiel is shutting down. This is the last post to appear at both addresses.
People talk about “eating your own dogfood” like it’s unpleasant. To the contrary, it’s the ideal state for a programmer. My first encounter with a coder was in a BBS chat session; he was the sysop. He was talking about a problem he’d encountered that required him to whip up a program in Turbo Pascal. I downloaded his program and could hardly believe it was something he’d just made. But there it was.
It was a few more years before I was competent enough in any programming environment to create things so easily. And by that time I was graduating from college, eschewing post-graduate study, and heading off to—I thought—code my butt off at Lucent. But instead of the invigorating business of creation I’d imagined, I was entering a world of corporate degeneration inhabited by masters of doing nothing. This world is known as “Information Technology.”
Rather than create good applications, an IT programmer does things like installing software on his computer (Rational Rose!) that is known to require more memory than ninety-nine percent of computers possess. Then he struggles to make this “required” software work, and complains to management that his PC does not have enough memory to run the software he needs to properly complete the “design phase.” Ergo, the project must go on hold until the request for more memory is fulfilled.
I left that kind of job behind, but unfortunately it’s not so easy to escape the mind-set. Because Java is so popular in corporations, the weight of their lazy IT departments consistently pushes the technology towards optimizing the picture rather than the product. In Java it’s perversely more important to have the right diagrams, the right development processes, and the right coding standards than it is to have a well-working application.
And the tragedy of it is that there is something worth saving in Java. There’s an enormous amount of free libraries, waiting to be used. They may not allow for the most efficient coding (because of their adherence to certain fussy principles) but they can still do great swaths of your work for you. With every new project I’m pleased with the libraries I find to help me out, particularly if they’re waiting in the central Maven repository so I can integrate them effortlessly.
So here’s to writing your own software—and using it, which should go without saying. Already I’m happier with my Databinder-based Typeturner weblog software than with Rails-based Typo, because it works the way I want it to. Some day I hope Typeturner will be useful to a great number of people. For now, I’d appreciate it if you guys would help break it in. Say something!
And spammers: make my day, bitches!