The what is more interesting than the how

February 23rd, 2015

Recently I read Charlotte Spencer’s blog post about being a new developer. The entire post is worth a read but this bit jumped out at me:

As a new developer, I don’t care what you are programming in, I just want to know what you’re building. A programming language is just a programming language to me. You’ve got your JavaScripts and your Rubies and Pythons and they all do cool things. I don’t care about semicolons, or tabs over spaces, or why you think npm is the best package manager of all time 2K14. I see these arguments all the time and am perplexed by them.

I am not a new developer and I still don’t care what you’re programming in. I’ve lived through so many changes on the web. I survived the move from tables to CSS. From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 to whatever the heck we have now. I’ve had to listen to so many pub discussions about “Rails doesn’t scale” when, indeed, Twitter and other large platforms were crashing hourly. And these days I see a new way to “build” HTML, CSS, and JS pop up ever single day.

I don’t care. I do like that I have options for doing my work. Different tools and methods and frameworks to help me accomplish my goals quicker. That’s just fine. However, the ferocity of some of the discussions about how one language or framework or process is better than another seems counterproductive. I almost never take part.

I don’t care if your app is written in Obj-C or Swift, PHP or Ruby, Node or Angular. I take little notice in the latest framework-name-here-dot-jay-ess that is currently at the top of the list on Hacker News. What I do care about is what you’re making! What is it? How will it help me or anyone else? Why does it exist?

I believe the what is more interesting than the how.