Scripting or Programming and the Balance of Getting Work Done

Do you script or do you program? It comes down to a matter of how much control you have over an application and the time you can save.

I guess it makes sense that deciding to go back into programming that I should keep up with the latest developments and benefit from what the development community has learned. I have spent a lot of my career in the scripting world, starting from turning the idea of monolithic monsters into something that was configurable and easily changed, to just scripting in applications and on pages, from printing to the web. I still feel the disappointment that floored me when I had spent months in my own time designing a working BASIC interpreter for using on the web, just when Microsoft came out with their scripting interface. This interface then went on to be ASP and now ASP.NET.

In the end though it seems that scripting or programming blends together and all scripting really meant that I was taking advantage of the configuration of something before it became bound into the final application, web pages or user experience. It only really seems a requirement if you cannot change someone else application and you need detailed configuration.

However, looking at the development world now after almost ten years brings on a down side.

Even though I am not scared by any programming language or technique I must admit that the amount of new things, the new techniques and methods of creation here are causing me to feel very uncomfortable. A concern in the back of my mind is the balance of time between learning new things and the work that needs to be done. While you are learning you are not productive. What would be the point of taking the days to create an application to do something that would only take an hour? Believe me I have been there so many times before. You can literally spend the whole of your life learning and in the end not doing anything!

The balance however is the amount you need to do. My ambitions in this area are huge, in fact well beyond what I think I am capable of at the moment and that puts the pressure on.

But what it does mean is that if I can learn the techniques to do these tasks then I will become quicker at creating them. My direction here is to reach a stage where I can create the tool to do something quicker than I would be actually doing the task. Is that possible? Let’s see…

The side where my balance towards learning wins out is where I need to do something on a regular basis. Having to do something over and over again is something I abhor; I never want to do something more than once if possible – unless of course I actually enjoy the act of doing it 🙂

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