Monday, October 26, 2009

Frugal Programming

I was reading the article on msn here
It goes on to talk about wants vs needs, if you want something now what are the chances you'll want it in a year.
I was suddenly struck with the thought, what about "frugal programming" what i mean is, how do you decide what you NEED programs for and what you WANT programs for.

Lets break it down, sometimes I'm doing something repetitive and think I need a program, but in order to write this program it'll take say 4 hours to write and 2 hours to run, but just doing the actual work would take 4 hours.

Which is more valuable? Being able to complete the repetitive task in an efficient manner makes it more of a benefit. In addition getting more practice will definitely make you a better employee.

The problem is you look at it as a "right now" situation. The fact is you need to finish this task as quickly as possible, and you just get something working for this situation and forget about it.

What often happens is you write a program (such as the one above) for a one time task, but you never label it and stick it somewhere that you KNOW you'll find it in the future. Now that time you spent was more in the direction of wasted. Because if the task comes up again you'll either have to spend an hour searching for the program, or you'll have to spend the time re-writing it.

So what I'm trying to say is being a frugal programmer is being a programmer who can reuse what they do in as many way's as possible as to get as much value out of the "item" as you can.

If you don't have some sort of organization you'll forever be repeating work and doings over and over again until you finally sit down and say I'M GOING TO GET ORGANIZED and literally do it.

So far I've been working on a form of organization, it's tough though, because I might write one thing in C, one in perl and another in visual basic, but I have no means of correlating what they are to it. All my programs are stuffed in a folder called programs, and sorted by language.

I just recently came up with a plan (literally about 12 seconds ago), if I put a list of keywords that this particular program could be used for, or describing it in the header, I can write a script that will find all keywords and programs, so if I do a search I might be able to find things quicker.

Until I literally implement it, let me know how you organize your information/programs/data.

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