Good programmers are lazy programmers

Good programmers enjoy working, they just don’t like re-inventing the wheel.  There is a whole class of programmers who suffer from NIH (not invented here) who then dutifully re-invent, re-write, re-build a system.  Some of them are even so “wise” to re-use standard nomenclature in their re-inventions that when they present the XYZ project they can proclaim that they’re using ABC technology.  However they fail to mention that the ABC technology is not the industry standard but a system of their own design.  Which of course means that nobody on earth (outside of one or two engineers) can support it, modify it or change it.

Good programmers look a problem figure out how to leverage the most out of a community — open source rocks — and solve the problems that the need to solve.  Most of the time the open source system doesn’t meet 100% of the requirements, or requires a specific way of thinking about the problem.  Which is a small cost to pay in terms of overall productivity.

Example — When I started at Wink we had no MVC framework for our PHP infrastructure.   So took a quick look around and not seeing anything that was quite a match to our problem, went off and wrote something that was a closer match to our needs.  Time passed, the MVC frameworks got better, more features, etc., etc.  Ours of course was getting cruftier and was showing a general lack of thought (it started as a three day hack).   There was a very painful moment, when I said that we needed to move to a open source solution for our MVC bits…  pain …   But after a few days of having people learn a new approach to problem productivity increased and now we have a much more scalable approach to the problem.

Did I suffer from NIH at the inception?  Or can I say that I did a detailed analysis of the alternatives?   Maybe, maybe not.  At the end of the day, I’m happy moving to a standard solution if it meets 90% of my needs (if it met 100% of my needs, I wouldn’t have a job).   What drives me batty is programmers who believe that there is only one way, their way, to solve a problem and not embrace the work of the community.