Sunday, September 17, 2006

Developing is the new Programming

I've been saying this increasingly in debates and discussions over in #python, where I frequent. It has to be something considered before, by more intelligable people than myself, but I don't remember hearing such a statement from anyone else.


The focus on the software world has drifted over the years from a focus on programming to a focus on developing. The difference is import and subtle. We can see this in the trend of popular software related books, the evolution of practices and languages, and changing patterns in the industry markets.

Books, Blogs, and Bantering

The landscape has changed on the kind of information pushed across the board to techie types. Where as reading the official specification of the C language was once a good software book, the best of today have no mention or dependance on any particular language. The emphasis is on books on development as can be applied broadly and generally, such as the excellent Prefactoring.

This can also be seen on the blogscene and what was made available online the most vigourously in the past. Resources are less and less often references to the boring syntaxes and APIs of programming languages and their libraries. More and more often, resources found talk about testing practices, organizational details, mindsets, and the best coffee to start your day coding.

Everything 37 Signals has to say is usually worth putting some thought into absorbing, even though they use a language I dislike for various reasons. They are the source of Ruby's recent spike in popularity, yet it is rare to see them mentioning anything about on Signal vs Noise. Instead, they opt for a kind of content that sometimes has nothing to do with development at all, yet can be applied directly to every line of code written in any language.

Is this an artifact of my personal interest and information source drifting, or a wider trend of focus across the board?

Backposted to meet my personal post-a-day deadline (but only by 34 minutes!)

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I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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