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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
George recently threw down the gauntlet to me and Jason and a few other folks, to challenge ourselves and stretch beyond our comfort zone to become better developers. So if I properly understand this latest blog frenzy, I'm supposed to pick four things that I'm going to do in order to become a better developer.  I'm supposed to publish those four things in my blog, so that I'll be accountable for them.

(ok seriously, if I lived up to even HALF the crap I've promised in this blog over the years... you wouldn't be challenging me to be a better developer, you'd be bowing at my feet... but I digress.)

so here's my four things that I'm gonna claim to try and do over the next 6 months to be a better developer.

1. I'm gonna finish reading at least 1 tech book.  You may laugh, but I have hundreds of "developer" books that I have bought, borrowed or received over the years...  I have gazed longingly at the covers of all of them, skimmed a few chapters in most of them, actually sat down and read past the intro on a few of them, and completely finished almost none of them.

(I think it was Hanselman that said you have to make your goals attainable.  Maybe it was Jesus, but I'm pretty sure it was Hanselman.  Or that guy who sweats to the oldies... I don't remember, either way it's good advice.)

By only promising to finish one book (preferably one I've already started) I have a pretty good chance of meeting my goal.  If I read TWO books, I've exceeded my goals by 100%. FANTASTIC. I'm feeling optimistic already.

2. I'm going to embrace a new technology. Preferably one that doesn't bore me to death, or frustrate me beyond belief. That pretty much rules out BI and XNA, respectively.  I'm thinking maybe MOSS or Java.

(I briefly considered Silverlight, but if one more person starts regurgitating "Silverlight Cream" on GWB I'm afraid the servers might just implode in a fit of merciful suicide.  Save the servers, save the world. Seriously.)

3. I'm going to finish writing the POS (point of sale, thank you very much) software for Reality Check. I'm gonna finish designing it, coding it, testing it and I'm gonna implement it, and it's gonna roxor ur soxors. seriously.

(I actually have some really cool ideas for this system, and they involve some concepts I've never really explored before, so I'm pretty excited about the non-suckitude of this project. Unless I don't finish it, in which case it's garbage.)

4. I'm going to write a WoW UI mod. Something really cool, that makes all the other WoW UI mods bow before me.

(not really, but I figure if I mention WoW mods a few more times, I'll be exposing my blog to a whole new category of googlers/readers... you know, all those guys that search for WoW mods or gold.  Hmm, maybe I should think this one through better.)

4a. Actually, I'm going to do more training. A lot more training. As in, training others. I enjoy it, I learn from it every time I do it.  Oh yeah, and I happen to be damn good at it. I want to start doing some training on cutting edge stuff, like Silverlight (not really) or some of the newer MS technologies.  See #2.

I'm not sure any of these will actually make me a better developer, and I'm not even sure I will complete more than one or two things from this list, but maybe if I do it will give George something else besides my tattoos to refer to in his blog posts.

I guess, if nothing else, we can always whip em out and compare MVPness size. Come to think of it, I think Jason trumps us both since he's a Microsoft DE now. Damn... another victory snatched away by fate's cruel hand.
Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2007 2:27 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: becoming a better developer, or something like that...

# re: becoming a better developer, or something like that...
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The silverlight stuff is indeed enough to make me want to barf. It's great, but everyone oesn't need to be the marketing dept.

As far as the learning new stuff/reading books goes, I am pretty fanatical about it and have benefitted greatly. You don't know how much you don't know until you try to learn it. Lately, I've become obsessed with Powershell and WIX - both of which are just amazing products. Working at a hard core agile shop for a while now has changed my mind on a few things, and automated builds are a must for every non-trivial project. Extensive code coverage, running FXCop etc is just a must. ANd doing it by hand sucks. So having packages that , pardon the cliche', 'just work' are a must.

BI is really frustrating to learn b/c it's hard to come up with examples. You really need 10 million rows and screwy designs to appreciate it. And you need bizarre and difficult requirements. BI is a passion of mine, but not something you can honestly learn on your own. You can practice at home, but that's it.

I think your XNA stuff sounds great. You are a creative genius and can only imagine how cool your stuff will be.

Hopefully your POS stuff will use CSLA :-) (just kidding). However I have a small home bar coding app I wrote and although I have bar codes on way too much of my stuff now, it's immensely useful. Having it for the store will be huge and with a little forethought, you may be able to sell it and recoup some cash for your time. I know two other people who have done that and at first, they just needed it for their business. IN one case, it became their new business and the other guy still made a really large amount of cash selling it to people in the samee business in another town. Just something to think about ...

Great post man - very cool
Left by Bill on Jul 05, 2007 10:32 AM

# re: becoming a better developer, or something like that...
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"I'm going to embrace a new technology. Preferably one that doesn't bore me to death, or frustrate me beyond belief...I'm thinking maybe MOSS"


I don't know if you're aware, but MOSS is an acronym for "Frustrate me beyond belief"


Left by D'Arcy from Winnipeg on Jul 05, 2007 1:50 PM

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