Reggie says ‘You really going to npm -install that stuff?’

This blog is about coding – concepts, techniques, practices, opinions. My aim is to write down some useful stuff before I forget it – maybe someone will find a use for it. The material here is all my own work and any opinions expressed are solely mine unless attributed to some else.

I’ve been around longer than The Internet, longer than JavaScript in the browser, and longer than Amazon.

Why the ‘long view coder’ ? Twenty plus years ago I wrote some code that’s been keeping me busy and paying my bills ever since. How it was written, and the mindset behind that process, will be of interest if you are looking for a full career in this game. Think of it as taking the long view.

Looking back as far as I’ve travelled so far, I think I’ll score myself as having had a successful career. I dabbled with Lotus Notes in the mid eighties, trained to write Cobol at a big software Co when the mainframe had less computing power than my toaster, crossed over to Unix & 4GL with RDBMS when Informix ruled and Oracle was a new kid on the block, worked connecting IBM mainframes to corporate networks with middleware, did Big Data and BI before it was called that, wrote a WYSIWYG HTML editor in ’97, surveyed the fledgling AI marketplace in the early 2000’s for a dot com business, then joined a boutique software Co and enjoyed 20+ years income from the code base we developed for a commercial B2B app.

All meaning that I’ve been the guy that decided the architecture, who took the decisions on technology selection, who coded the solution, who articulated it to the customers, and who lives day-by-day with the results.

Whilst its not a unique perspective, these experiences do give me some hindsight around why I made the choices I did, and the issues and successes that ensued. While some of the older technologies aren’t important, the thinking around the approach to their selection is. And certainly the more recent and current live tech (JS) are.

I suppose another way of thinking about this is that the role of ‘coder’ has morphed into ‘developer’. As a coder I learned within a company who paid for my initial training and follow on personal development courses. As a ‘developer’, in many cases you are self-taught and working as a force of one. The advantage the developer of the 2020’s has is the vast resource of The Internet. Back in the 1980 – 90’s we had O’Reilly Press, Wrox, and later The Dummies.

But with great power comes great risk. The issue with content of The Internet is quality and provenance. When I found something in a book in 1997 I knew that there was a certain level of quality involved. An author had researched the topic, a team of editors had validated and corrected the writing. They were all making a buck so had a reason to make a quality product. With resources on The Internet, GitHub and the like, we have many more resources but much less chain of provenance.

Conclusion – be careful who you trust.

JE Dec 2020

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