Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Alternative Takes On Paul Graham

James Robertson and Eric Sink took away different perspectives than I from Paul Graham's Great Hackers article. They both have some great points that I hadn't thought about, but it seems they took a much stronger offense than I.
    Another is when you have to customize something for an individual client's complex and ill-defined needs. To hackers these kinds of projects are the death of a thousand cuts.

My take on this when I read it was the all too common trait of working on a project where the other developers didn't think about the client's problems at all or just hacked their way through it. I like thinking about design and solving the "icky" client problems in an elegant way. It disturbs me when my views are not shared and some developers just want to hack and slash without any thought of design. But, I see where James and Eric took this to mean working on client code was beneath great hackers. And now after reading more closely, they are right. Graham feels like he's a little too full of himself on this one(he's always written his essays in a overblown type of way and I've liked them for this). I still love Paul for being honest about Java and for being one of the few to be vocal about how bad it is. But, I should have read closer on this one. Eric's article was especially good. I guess my take is that a great hackers are those that get the job done for the client quicker and cleaner. In other words, they get the job and you don't have to spend a lot of time maintaining their code. A great hacker also has no problems maintaining his own code. Any developer that doesn't want to maintain his own code should not be a developer.

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