Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mr. Interesting-Problems-To-Solve

I had to laugh a while back when I read through one of the now semi-recent threads on comp.lang.lisp, wherein a certain old-timer boasted about how many of us ought to send him our resumes. Although he had his hands full with interesting problems to solve, he allowed as to there being possibly a month or two of boring code to be dealt with afterwards; and we knuckle-draggers who spend most of our time slogging through the muck might be able to handle that (pending credentials review, of course). OK, he didn't write anything about "knuckle-draggers," that part was my invention.

Getting the boring code done -- the stuff about to drive you bonkers because it's so boring -- is a thankless job, but you'll hear about it when you actually get users and they find out you've skimped on certain details. The boring code stops some people from getting their projects past a certain, how shall I say it, critical juncture. Everybody prefers the interesting problems (the 20%), but some folks can't grind out the rest of the project (the 80%), and they move on to greener pastures. I don't think Mr. Interesting-Problems-To-Solve is one of those folks; I'll bet his work is good and thorough. But I laughed because I've seen that attitude for real.

Now where was I? Ah yes, list box notification messages. Oh goody.


John Connors said...

I'm currently struggling with this syndrome myself: I've been writing a text/curses API type Lisp library as a starter exercise while learning. The problem set turned out to be so trivial that it's turned into a real something that should take a week, tops ended up taking months because I only looked at it very occasionally.

Jack Unrue said...

Yep. In my case, I am indeed working through list box support in Graphic-Forms. List boxes are not exactly what you would call 'cutting-edge' UI, but they're still important to get working (and in doing so, you get a bunch of infrastructure done at the same time). But man, talk about a million little boring details...