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Logan.WS / Articles / When a Programmer Should Choose not to Program

When a Programmer Should Choose not to Program

Is there a time when a programmer shouldn't choose programming to solve a problem? Good programming can be done to solve many problems. What is programming? Searching the internet, one of the definitions of programming found is, "creating a sequence of instructions to enable the computer to do something." When programmers write down those funny Greek words, or "code," it is like an art. Because programming can be an art, in a room full of programmers, you will hardly find two programmers that will write the same exact program to solve the same problem.

Logan has experience in all types of programming. Logan has written a graphical program that simulates moving objects, websites that capture product orders, systems for charging credit cards on a scheduled basis, and has even worked on programs that calculate the dip of sales after people stock up on products bought during good super market promotions.

In the corporate world, programming projects are done based on a calculation of time you have to do the project, the money that is available for the project, and the resources or people available that can work on the project. Because of these constraints, sometimes the hardest decision a programmer has to make is to not program at all. This is a hard thing to do because it is against the programmer's nature. A programmer needs to build his or her programs to feel like they have done the right thing.
The project relationship between time, money, and resources.
Lets say you have a book that has been published. Now you want to put most of this book on your website. Generally your trusty programmer wants to write a program that will convert the book into nice html files to get it out onto the web. Logan has been on a project like this but the book was in a file format that would take a while to convert into a format that can be displayed on the web. Instead of having Logan, as an averagely paid programmer, spend lots of time trying to convert the book into web content, the company hired hard working interns that can speed through the book and retype it onto the web. You mean they typed the book from scratch? Yes and that was a decent short term solution since the cost of the interns plugging away at the book was cheaper than having it done programmatically.

Looking for a long term solution, a trusty programmer might win the argument to create a program to convert the book so that other books in the future could be pumped out faster than the fast typing interns. Then again, the programmatic conversion process in Logan's case didn't have an easy sell since the file format being dealt with was Quark. Quark is a program that is good to store book data that is used to publish a book. Unless you plan on converting a Quark file into a web format while creating the file for the book, converting the Quark file is a hard thing to do consistently. When you know the future books that you want to convert to the web were written years ago not ever imagining the content should go on the web, you see if the interns you hired have any friends in college that want to earn some extra cash.

Posted: June 25, 2005

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