Wednesday, 22 November, 2000

Rediscovering Fun in Programming

I'm rediscovering the Joy of Programming.  Maintaining and enhancing a large system (what I was doing until recently) is more work than fun, so to maintain my sanity I've been writing some small utilities at home, and at work I've moved from Product Development into Solutions, where we provide custom solutions for clients who buy our product.  These custom solutions are much smaller than our Inquisite product, and we have a little more freedom in the tools we use to build them.  The development cycle is days or weeks, rather than months and years, and in some ways much more satisfying.

I'd also forgotten just how powerful component programming can be.  Today I started on an internal utility that will send batch emails (survey invitations).  It's a tool that we use to administer surveys for clients.  Using Delphi, I was able to create, in just a couple of hours, the entire database interface that manages surveys and mail recipients all without having to write a single line of code.

Some programmers may wonder why I'd rather hook up components than write code.  The answer is simple.  I've written database access code a zillion times.  It's boring, repetitive work that's very error prone.  Hooking up components that do it for me frees me to concentrate on the program's real work (scheduling and tracking emails sent through our SMTP service), which is new to me, and actually interesting.