Software Projects: the important boring bits

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Software Projects: the important boring bits

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor

  • Well said! Now if only I could convince my director that we need to be doing more of this "boring stuff" so I can get time to actually do it. Making some progress anyway, but flashy new applications always get priority.

  • "IT people generally want to make a living through becoming experts in glamorous topics involving hot technologies." Not necessarily; some of us want to make stuff and get some income in the process. Not that this fact detracts from your point about needing to know the boring things; it's the boring things that are most likely to cost a creative person his job when he fails to do them.

    Jay Bienvenu | |

  • Great article, Phil. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    Having been both an FTE that had to fix legacy systems and a consult that's had to do the same, I've found that you really need to know the "basics" which, of course, is horribly boring for most folks. Things like finding the worst problems (usually in the form of poorly written code followed closely by poorly designed tables and indexes) and being able to fix them is a combination of art, science, and gut-feel.

    Of course, SQL Server and databases aren't the only games in town for consultants but the same rules apply... be very, very good at the boring basics and the rest will follow.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • I just 'dare' to be 'dull' !

    RegardsRudy KomacsarSenior Database Administrator"Ave Caesar! - Morituri te salutamus."

  • as if to prove my point, crashes and burns due to the fact that they kept their passwords in plain text, without any encryption or access control.

    It is sad reading (and their privacy/security page makes amusing reading)

    All information gathered on the Site is stored and maintained in secure facilities. In addition, internal security provides that this information is coded with restricted access, and our servers are kept in a secure, locked environment that limits access to authorized personnel only. All JoomlArt employees, and all external service providers who may process and/or store customer data, are briefed about the company's privacy and security policies on a regular basis. The Site is regularly tested for security breaches to ensure that all information collected is secure from unauthorized viewing. Any service providers with whom JoomlArt contracts, and who receive, store, or process personally identifiable customer data, have committed to abide by the provisions of this privacy policy. All transmissions of personally identifiable customer data are encrypted and secure.

    They forgot about the boring bits!

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor

  • I absolutely agree with Mr. Factor's assessment of the our business. Being able to address problems from the perspective of years of experience makes the boring consultant valuable. In many cases we boring types are helping our clients solve problems we have seen before and resolved in an earlier gig.

    I have presented the boring stuff at code camps and user group meetings and have found that I get fewer participants than the glamorous topics but the people who do attend are those that understand that we need to be grounded in the basics as well as the new material.

  • This topic hits me right where I live -- I've always described my progress as more careen than career, but I do seem to have fallen into a position where my job is both tedious and essential, though largely incomprehensible to most of the client base I help to support.

    I've had very little CS education beyond a few classes here and there, and my work supporting Legacy systems often involves incremental changes and emergency patches on someone else's designs, without the blue-sky freedom of starting from scratch. All of this is complicated by the fact that upper management has wanted to scrap these Legacy systems long ago but has never quite been able to do so and thus I have no more real job security than anyone else.

    Over the years I have come to a visual metaphor of my work as being caught in a torrential flood, clinging for safety in the limbs of a floating tree. Somebody on shore yells "Build a boat!" and tosses me a saw.

  • I wonder if anything could be more boring than COBOL. All the remaining COBOL programmers I know are securely employed and well compensated.



  • Steve Reich (12/8/2014)

    I wonder if anything could be more boring than COBOL. All the remaining COBOL programmers I know are securely employed and well compensated.



    As someone who has had two decades doing "glamorous topics involving hot technologies" I have found myself in a position that I am picking up COBOL commercially for the first time.

    The last time I coded in COBOL I had long hair (I had hair!!!), dressed as though Mad Max was my better dressed antipodean cousin and had a wonderful youthful life of too much fun (no details - I survived and moved on in life without being arrested ;-)) and not enough sleep.

    I am not nostalgic, as the past lies where is should remain, but neither am I too idealistic to burden myself with refusing to touch a technology considered outdated all those years ago.

    The reason I believe that I have been successful in my career so far? I have tried to avoid considering any technology so "sexy" that the application of common sense and basic techniques are overlooked. (Particularly early on I proved how human I was and was less successful at achieving that though).


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

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