Worthy of Praise «
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I’ve really enjoyed Timothy Fitz’s new blog, he’s sold me on Continuous Deployment, named the benefits automation I never put my finger on, and more.

Jeff Atwood (writer of the very popular Coding Horror) snarked about the posts, though, because Fitz works at IMVU, a social virtual world that looks to be aimed at kids and teens.

codinghorror: If I worked on “IMVU: 3D Avatar Chat Instant Messenger & Dress Up Game”, I’d be too embarrassed to blog about it, frankly.

codinghorror: He’s like “our deployment is sweet!” I’m like “dude, you’re deploying a 3d chat game for tweens.” Congratulations, I guess http://is.gd/j4Bh

antumbral: @codinghorror Feel free to ignore the lessons learned by industry leaders like Nexon just because their customers are younger than you.

codinghorror: @antumbral well, let’s just say 3d chat avatar dress-up software was not the cure for cancer I had hoped it would be.

I guess that would sting more, if not for this rhetorical piledriver from another proud IMVU engineer:

Prestemon: Guy whose “About me” page says “I currently work full time on my blog” mocked the place I work for not being a cure for cancer. Speechless.

(Atwood went on to make himself look worse by calling IMVU less honest than porn; I can see it’s intended as an insult, but I can’t see how it makes any sense.)

I think Atwood’s hangup is that work is supposed to be boring:

t’s not easy to reconcile the fact that the software we write each and every day is, for all intents and purposes, mind-numbingly boring. … As unexciting as it may be, it’s our job to do work *exclusively* to benefit our employer, not for own personal satisfaction. That’s just what it means to be a professional. Tedium is Inescapable.

I can’t even count the ways this attitude is wrong. If you think most programming is a boring slog, you’re not programming. You need to automate, abstract, and choose better tools. If you don’t have the imagination to work at a level where you’re solving problems instead of typing out getters and setters, you don’t have the imagination to be a developer, you’re just a typist.

Alex, the DailyWTF owner who wrote the post, spends time every day looking at some of the worst code ever written and he’s reacting to that: people who incompetent or over-complicate because they don’t realize that programming can be simple and straightforward. They reinvent every wheel because they either fail to realize the wheel exists or fail to recognize how it’s the solution to their problem.

And needless to say, business applications are borrrring! Nothing about the programming is stimulating. It’s all a question of managing requirements, priorities, and figuring out how to cram ninety hours worth of work into a seventy hour week to stave off the outsourcing.
Raganwald, who only thought he was writing parody

A virtual dress-up world is not unworthy of quality work from software professionals. I’ve never understood that this idea that work shouldn’t be fun, that some jobs are not worth doing well. Fitz and the rest of the IMVU team are doing the us a favor by blogging about the good work they’re doing, and that’s worthy of praise.


Comments

  1. Here here. I work in the credit card industry, and I think the industry as a whole isn’t the most exciting industry (I’d personally love to be working in video games, and “3d chat game for tweens” may not be the best I could hope for, but it would at least help get my foot in the door. I’d go work for them, it sounds like they’ve got good development practices), I LOVE my job. Programming is great. I love solving the problems that programming puts in front of me. I love refactoring 20 methods that are all very similar and removing 700 lines of duplicated code with one method (first class functions for the win). I love my job, if you’re a programmer and you don’t love yours, find somewhere else to work. Live!

  2. While I can’t say I have any desire to actually use IMVU’s product (that’s ok, I’m clearly not their target market), I can appreciate the complexity of what they’re building, and the engineering processes that go along with it. Anyone who can read these posts and not come up with a more thoughtful reply than “lol they write teen dressup software” either missed the point or is just being a dick. I tend to like Jeff’s writing, but his reply to this is pretty juvenile.

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