Monday, 6 October 2008

Using Ready made solutions

Here's a paradox for you:

Before starting to work as with .NET technology, I was a hard core C++ programmer. During that time the general approach around me was discouraging the use of external source components. The general attitude was always "we can do it better".

This ingrained reflex was and still is one of the hardest thing for me to overcome. When starting to work with .NET, the developers around almost always tried to first find ready made solutions before reverting to coding themselves. Here's a nice post summarizing this approach: Search, Ask and only then Code.

I find both approach somewhat funny:

C++ - if we are such great programmers, humility would suggest that other programmers can do just as well, so their code would be just as good as ours. why not use it?

.NET - if we can't write good enough code, and we are definitely not more stupid then the average developers. Most likely other people code would be just as bad.

In short, taken to the extreme both approaches are bad. In todays world there is so much info out there, that its a shame not to look and see how things get done and avoid common mistakes done by others. However, relying too heavily on other people solutions without fully understanding them (which in a lot of cases exactly what happens), will at the end take more time to maintain and will prevent your own skills (as a programmer) from evolving.

Programming is a combination of knowledge and skill. Possessing just one wont be enough at the long run.


Anonymous said...

Good suggestion. Understanding is the key and efficiency is the reward.

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