Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To Code or not To Code - Defined

To a programmer the phrase "To Code or not To Code" has multiple meanings and I've asked it in each way multiple times. Here I will attempt to explain what it means to me and why I choose it as the title of this blog.

Meaning one:
"To Code or not To Code" is another way of saying "Build it or Buy it" or to state in a even simpler fashion, "is it worth our time to develop a custom X when we can but one that does pretty much the same thing." This is a common dilemma at many companies and can be as small in scope as should we use a custom ASP.NET grid control from company X or should we build our own based on the stock ASP.NET DataGrid control or it can be as complex as should we build our own credit card processing application or just use one built by 1000 other companies. This question nearly always has proponents on either side and coming to a conclusion is rarely simple. Often the "right" decision is not known until months or years after the actual decision is made, usually the wrong one.

Meaning two:
"To Code or not To Code" is a statement you will hear often from developers of all flavors (except maybe LAMP, those guys are weird :)) when they reach 8-12 years of experience and start to notice that the number of jobs at their level is dropping off considerably. It is usually a decision as to whether to remain a coder or to move into either management or architecture. but can also include leaving the field entirely. It is closely related to the "mid-life crisis" but rarely involves a small convertible. I and several people I know are going through this at various levels and I guess we'll see what the outcome is.

Meaning three:
"To Code or not To Code" is also, of course, just a snarky paraphrasement of Shakespeare made by a person to whom that is about the only line of his works we know. Like me. That's about all there is to this one so I guess it's not really a separate meaning but I HAD to point out this reference to the obvious sarcasm challenged.

So in conclusion, I chose the name for the blog to reflect choices that programmer types must make in their careers, with a healthy dose of sarcasm thrown in. Enjoy.

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