gladoscc
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:54 am

Before, I'd enjoy programming. Not that I'd lose sleep over it, but "I have free time, I'll do [x]". Recently however it's becoming more of a chore.. I tried taking a 5 day break, but that didn't help. I still program, but that's more of pushing myself to do it, and I haven't got in the flow recently.

Has anyone else experienced this? Should I go for a different, new language? Go into web development? Disregard programming? Thanks :)

hlt32
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:14 pm

Whisky!


jamesh
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Quote from gladoscc on December 11, 2011, 11:54
Before, I'd enjoy programming. Not that I'd lose sleep over it, but "I have free time, I'll do [x]". Recently however it's becoming more of a chore.. I tried taking a 5 day break, but that didn't help. I still program, but that's more of pushing myself to do it, and I haven't got in the flow recently.

Has anyone else experienced this? Should I go for a different, new language? Go into web development? Disregard programming? Thanks :)

Do you do it for a living or just for pleasure? Sounds like pleasure only.

One of my things is car racing - my avatar is me at Silverstone. But I haven't done it for 5 years. Cannot pluck up the energy to fix up the car and get it ready to go. All of the welding and panelling work has been done after my last crash (!), but just cannot pluck up the enthusiasm to start up again. I suppose it was quite a big crash....

I blame the children arriving and too much work; apparently you are not allowed to sell your children for medical research (who knew?), and it's difficult to survive without a job.

I think everyone is so busy nowadays with just surviving the recession it doesn't leave much energy for anything else.
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Nutmeat
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:54 pm

Quote from jamesh on December 11, 2011, 13:48 I blame the children arriving and too much work; apparently you are not allowed to sell your children for medical research (who knew?), and it's difficult to survive without a job. ys with just surviving the recession it doesn't leave much energy for anything else.I'm finding myself in this situstion exactly. Kids use your time, job stinks when only accountants do the planning and vision work. Programming isn't the problem. It's the crushing weight of reality that's breaking me, too.

Bacan
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:32 pm

Add to that the lack of Glory & Rewards for getting the Damn Thing finished on-time, under-budget and per spec! It is a case of it is your job, now get on to the next one. Oh by the way. You did such a good job of being on time, we are cutting this project's time table by 20% and it is already a month behind on its milestones. Enjoy.

gsh
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:41 pm

Sounds like someone is in the wrong job!

I moved upwards into management when the programming started to get a little boring... Possibly the most difficult step to take - stop doing the work and try instead herding cats towards a movable goal set by marketing with their eye on the latest cool thing...



I hope this suitably explains the mind of a marketing person...
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ukscone
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:40 pm

Quote from jamesh on December 11, 2011, 13:48

I blame the children arriving and too much work; apparently you are not allowed to sell your children for medical research (who knew?),


The trouble with children is that they're not returnable. QUENTIN CRISP (1908-99)

obarthelemy
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:53 pm

As a marketing person, I'd attest to the difficulty of herding dev people to something that's seductive, reliable, and usable by mere mortals, oh, and actually avilable. My motto was: "could your mom use that ?" ^^

eggn1n3
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:43 pm

I know what you mean. Also having kids mean you don't have much time for your hobbies anymore. But that's not the only reason, it looks that todays programming is using API's and other libraries, getting more and more away from the real hardware. That's the reason I Linux so much, still having control in what you are doing. The Raspberry Pi makes it even better as you kind of experience how this thing is designed/setup etc.

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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:55 pm

Quote from gladoscc on December 11, 2011, 11:54
Before, I'd enjoy programming... Recently however it's becoming more of a chore... Has anyone else experienced this? Should I go for a different, new language? Go into web development? Disregard programming? Thanks :)
I fully agree that for most people programming is a lot less fun than it was ~35 years ago. I am hopeful that RasPi will help turn this around, as it will provide a mostly-open platform that encourages exploration. This is why I'm so interested in the project.

I see three things necessary for computing to be fun. The first is choice of language. Some languages are a lot more fun to program in than others. However, different people view fun differently. To paraphrase Mr. Knightley, I don't want others to choose my entertainments for me.

The second is the computing infrastructure, i.e., what operating system -- if any -- is providing the I/O and other libraries for your program. In my professional work, I have worked on embedded systems with little or no operating system. I'm programming down at the bare metal directly reading an writing device registers. I don't have to write device drivers to do this -- I just #define a register address, #define control bits in the register, and assign values.

In my undergrad days, I did a lot of PDP-11 programming. That machine had very clean memory-mapped peripherals. The PDP-11 Peripheral Handbook has a chapter on programming, which covers both busy loops and interrupts. That chapter is eight pages long. The utter simplicity invites one to experiment and have fun. In direct contrast is Linux or Windows kernel programming, which are both extremely steep learning curves. "Abandon hope (or at least fun) all ye who enter here" is what comes to mind.

Then you have GUI programming. It's a pretty steep learning curve for everything I've come across. Actually, Qt seems pretty nice, except that I don't care for C++. If you stick to basic graphics such as Win32 GDI and X11 Xlib, it's not too bad a learning curve. Once you bring in widgets, however, things get complicated and non-portable pretty quickly IMO.

I'd really like to play around with Android, but from what I can tell it's a ghastly programming infrastructure if you want to port over a Win32 or X11 application. As with many object-oriented systems, they do everything to confuse matters by coming up with new names for previously well-understood concepts. JMO/YMMV.

The third chore-vs-fun is the computing environment. Android is a perfect example here, because it seems that to do programming you need to use Eclipse (which I guess some people find fun) on a separate platform. IMO, cross-development is called that because it makes people cross :-)

A good programming environment is one that doesn't get in the way. It's fun to use and you see results quickly. Again, individual tastes vary. Some people love heavy GUIs that are like flying a jet airliner with 100,000 switches. Others prefer a nice Makefile. Some like good old printfs for debugging. Others prefer something like GDB. Some think it's appropriate that GDB is a French slang acronym gueule de bois (wooden throat), which means "hangover". In fact, if I ever write my own debugger I think I'll call it KJ, short for Katzenjammer, which also means "hangover".

In summary, I think there are many ways that programming has become more of a chore and less fun over the last ~35 years. However, I think all of them have work-arounds.

spock
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:04 am

my problem isn't that i lost enjoyment in programming (i have so many ideas i would like to work on) but that i lost enjoyment in sitting in front of computer. after work i prefer to be outdoors and stuff like that. :)

gladoscc
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:55 am

Unfortunately, I'm not talking about a timespan of 35 years, more of a timespan of a year..

Anyway, I'm in the next ludum dare this weekend. Should be fun.

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Davespice
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:51 pm

Some good points have been made here. I would say one thing though. In my experience motivation is often influenced by the nature of the project you’re working on (and what kind of state it’s in). In one of my old jobs I was in a dev team that was really beholden to the sales and marketing team. So much so that the sales and marketing team would lie about what the software could do in order to make a sale and they would then come to us and say – “you have to add this feature by next Tuesday, get on with it”.

What they didn’t realise is that when you hurry to hack a feature in at the last minute – you don’t have time to restructure the code in a neat and tidy way. So the code base becomes messy and difficult to maintain. You can often manage if this kind of thing happens once in a blue moon, but if it happens repeatedly the code becomes a horrible mess of hacks upon hacks. Programmers call this spaghetti code. You change one line of code, this breaks about 5 of other lines. You fix those 5, they each break 10 more lines. This is something those sales and marketing people just couldn’t grasp. You wouldn’t start building a 3 bedroom house and then, half way through, decide to make it into a block of flats. The foundations wouldn’t be strong enough and it would fall down. I think that is a fair analogy. Time should always be allocated for code restructuring, in the long term it saves on support and will cut down development time.

So with a project like that one can easily understand the lack of motivation in making yet another dirty hack to bail out a fib from the sales team.

Motivation is high though when you’re exploring new ground or working on a project for yourself where the aim is very clear. I sort of call this ‘programming in anger’. Although you’re not constantly angry while programming – it just means you’re got a clear goal you’re shooting for and you are motivated because you want to use the program you’re making. This is a good rule to apply in education too. Kids will respond better to it.

So maybe all you need is a new project. Not a made up hypothetical one. Something where you really want to make use of the end product. I’ll give you an example. I enjoy playing some really old turn based strategy games. The Age of Wonders Series. The games have a play by email mode, so you basically email a file around in a circle of players. Sounds archaic right? But it does give you the flexibility to play your turn whenever you have the time to. The games do have a way to automatically send the file out through an SMTP server for you. But because they’re so old – they only work with the old style of server that was around at the time. So you wouldn’t be able to use them on a server that requires explicit authentication, SSL or anything. So Google Mail would be out of the question for instance. What this means is that people have to do it all manually. Which is hellishly tedious and repetitive.

So I have made a program which emulates the old type of SMTP server that the games like. The game sends it’s email to my program (fooled into thinking it’s a real SMTP server) and then my program connects to Google providing encryption and authentication etc to send the email out properly. So I really wanted to use this thing to save myself the tedium of manually uploading file attachments and what not. That gave me a lot of drive to work on the program. I hope that makes sense :D

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Luny
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Re: Losing enjoyment in programming

Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:40 pm

It gives me such a warm feeling to think I've finally found an area of computing where like minded people are. I too am against age, energy & kids versus programming hobby. I also program professionally which is becoming a chore too.

I've concluded several things which are a factor in this:
Age; When I dabble on the 8 bits, I got home from school about 4-ish, that gave me about 6 hours coding / playing time, allowing for tea etc. Now I get in at 6, not only have tea, but time with kids, clearing up, jobs etc. That laves me about 1 hour playing time.

Kids; see above. What I hate the most is, I couldn't live without them now, they are so much fun, so even if you could sell them to medical research... ;)

Work; I spend 8-ish hours coding, if lucky (give or take the red tape.); some days that is enough, but not as satisfying as home tinkering.

So here is an idea. We get 100,000 or so hobbyist coders, to all give £10 to one of the group. Say you buy something simple of them (a simple program). They invest the money, pay the tax, then retire. Then we do it again for the next person, using a bit of money from the first investment to speed things up a bit. Eventually (how many years?) we will all be rich & retired hobby coders who can volunteer our time to helping the kids with the future of programming on Raspi(s). In fact, I could get away with just 200,000 rather than a cool million. I'd only need a 2 day part time job then. :)

So who's first?
Luny

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