The Tale of J. Random Newbie

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2022-01-14 06:30:04

Why do programmers reinvent wheels? There are many reasons, reaching all the way from the narrowly technical to the psychology of programmers and the economics of the software production system. The damage from the endemic waste of programming time reaches all these levels as well.

Consider the first, formative job experience of J. Random Newbie, a programmer fresh out of college. Let us assume that he (or she) has been taught the value of code reuse and is brimming with youthful zeal to apply it.

Newbie's first project puts him on a team building some large application. Let's say for the sake of example that it's a GUI intended to help end users intelligently construct queries for and navigate through a large database. The project managers have assembled what they deem to be a suitable collection of tools and components, including not merely a development language but many libraries as well.

The libraries are crucial to the project. They package many services — from windowing widgets and network connections on up to entire subsystems like interactive help — that would otherwise require immense quantities of additional coding, with a severe impact on the project's budget and its ship date.

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