Friday 4 January 2008

This is Steve Yegge's fault

A couple of weeks ago I discovered Steve Yegge's blog via Jeff Atwood. Steve has written many essays (you should see the size of these things, they are not mere 'posts') and in general they focus on programming languages and improving your development skills & practices. I found Steve's writing fascinating and to put it briefly, his essays are the reason this blog exists. Now, I've been trying to kick this blog off for a couple of days and this first post has been causing me some real difficulty because it keeps devolving into a flowery poem entitled "Dear Stevey, how do I love thee, let me count the ways". Let me try once again to express this succinctly and without unnecessary romantics: taken in concentrated dose, by a certain category of programmer, Steve's essays are a cure for laziness in multiple domains. Please allow me a moment of self-indulgence to provide a little background. I am a software engineering graduate and I have been developing software exclusively using Microsoft tools and environments for the entirety of my short career (5 years, including part time work during university). I suspect I have fallen into a particular stereotype that might not be well named but is at least recognisable, given these attributes:

  • Windows is the only operating system I know how to use.
  • Since leaving university 2 years ago I have not learned any new programming languages (I am primarily a C# developer).
  • I have an unhealthy degree of affection for strong typing, static type checking and intellisense.
  • Everything I know about web development is ASP.NET based.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. I am horribly Microsoft focused and lacking in perspective. I'd say the depth of my knowledge is pretty good given how long I've been working in the industry... but my breadth of knowledge? Forget about it! Its probably worth mentioning one thing that I consider to be well-founded: I am nutty about object oriented programming. I am hoping to learn first hand how programming without static typing can be a good thing, but as far as OO is concerned, you will have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers! As you may have surmised, Steve has convinced me to start blogging. The primary focus of this blog is breaking out of the mold I described above. Reading software blogs and doing my job is not enough. Not if I ever want to work at Google (which I do). You don't become an amazing programmer simply by clocking in 9-5 for X years and reading Joel on Software (although I'm sure it helps). What embarrasses me is that it has taken me so long to figure that out. Next post: some more details about my plan.


  1. Heya Paul.

    I found your post via ego-surfing. Don't underestimate it! It's, like, the new pr0n.

    The "let me count the ways" comment got a serious laugh out of me. Like, stomach-hurting. :)

    I can't really offer much in return except a recommendation: watch Blood+, the anime TV series. It's what I've been watching lately. It gets better about halfway through.

    And keep up the computer-science self-improvement kick. It'll pay off eventually!



  2. Thanks for stopping to say hi Steve. I've sent you a reply email as I figure its got more chance of being read that way :)