[thelist] re: My 12 year old son can do websites

Luther, Ron ron.luther at hp.com
Thu Jan 29 10:18:51 CST 2004

john noted:

>>Now, I've just very successfully finished a degree in Internet Computing,
>>and I've always been a hand coder. But this stuff can take an awful long
>>time to produce by hand. Won't everyone's desire for a quick fix win in
>>the end?

Hi John,

Interesting degree!  ;-)

Anyway, I'm just chiming in here with a few thoughts to be disagreeable. 

First of all, there will always be work to customize things. No matter 
how thorough and complete that 'off the shelf' system is -- there will 
always be enough "we don't do it that way here" companies to pay the bar 
tabs of the folks who can tweak the code to do things their way. 
[Companies are waaaaay more willing to pay money to have the code match 
their business processes than they are to change their processes to match 
the code.]

Secondly, (slight agreement here), isn't a big portion of the history 
of computing the tradeoff between 'speed to deploy' and 'efficiency'? 
Long long ago, when hardware and processing time were more expensive 
than programmers, code monkeys would take *a lot* of time and effort to 
make their code more efficient. Today the economics have changed ... and 
'best practices' have changed with those economics.  As web development 
matures ... more and better tools for contructing 'piece parts' will become 
available and widely used. They probably won't be as efficient as hand 
coding, but they will be faster to deploy and, as broadband technologies 
become more prevalent and cheaper, fewer and fewer people will care much 
about the slight loss in efficiency.  Yeah, that raises the bar a bit for 
the decent paying jobs ... but it also provides more opportunities for 
folks who can tweak stuff too!

Finally, (cuz I think we've been beating around this bush for a bit), 
isn't this thread really more about the value of experience than a 
rehash of hand-coding versus non-hand-coding? I think the value of 
experience varies inversely with complexity. [I know that if I owned 
a fast food joint I sure wouldn't pay a heck of a lot more for a french 
fry dipper with 15 years of experience than for an untrained kid ... 
cuz that's not a complex job.]  

While I *might* be willing to let a 12 year-old set up one of those nice 
canned photo album sites ... I'm not bloody likely to sub-contract them 
a business critical web app for managing purchase order transactions 
involving dozens of separate vendors and several flavors of EDI signals.

My 2¢,

(Who, like all old guys, likes to think experience has some value.) ;-)

[I liked the camera analogy too! - I will be using that one.]

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