Saturday, December 1, 2007

Developer's Dogma

I figured I would start the Developer's journal with an overview of what programming is to me how I approach it. My favorite language to work with, without a doubt, PHP but I have been known to write in Perl, C, Java and C# in the past. For whatever purpose, no one can say. I have chosen PHP as my primary tool to work with because developing new and better web applications is what interests me. It is an ungrateful endeavor because a lot of application developers often look down on web developers. Many hardcore Java and C developers see dynamic languages as merely toys that kids play with. This attitude has lessened somewhat during the past couple of years with the advent of major web applications (other than the usual CMS, framework, or bulletin board software) like Google's web office and Microsoft's commitment to ASP.NET. The support of major corporations into the development of serious web applications has somewhat "redeemed" the web developer community.

However there are still many misguided people with strange and even utterly misconceived notions about dynamic languages and the programs that we write with them. I am not saying that everyone or that even the majority of programmers fall into this category. But the unfortunate truth is that these individuals still exist and they have an active impact on the community.

But I have always believed that it is important, especially to yourself, to stand up for what you believe in. Do not be afraid to have opinions and stand by them. There are fewer wrong opinions than right ones. In fact it is more important to have opinions than not have them at all. The world would be a lesser place if we were afraid to make a stand just because we were afraid of being prooven wrong.

This dogma has helped me tremendously over the years. I have been known to be wrong many times but my life is richer for it. When you are a programmer this kind of mantra is even more important because it can be a very unforgiving environment. Most programmers are not afraid to tell you what they think, wrong or right, and when there is a conflict of opinions (which is say ... often) at best they disdain at your presence and worst they despise you.

So why are there so many differences in opinions? Because programming is an active process that keeps developing. You can learn new things every day of your life and in every program there is always room for improvement. It is a perfectionist's nightmare. Then there is also the fact that programmers use different tools that behave different and most of us have styles and preferences that can differ like the sun and moon from each other. This is the reason why you should never be afraid to push yourself onward. Try new tools, new methods, new design principles, etc. You are likely to make more mistakes by trying new things but in the end you will also make better and more useful things that way. In a society is becoming more dependent on technology at every passing moment, this can only be a good thing.

So here in short is my developer's dogma:

  • Always stand up to what you believe in.
  • Do not be afraid to take risks and venture into the unknown.
  • By experimenting and talking with others in the field, try to recognize new and better ways of doing things.
Last but not least, always aim to have fun at what you are doing. :)

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