Reflections on improving my programming skills

I’ve been thinking about programming this week. Perhaps this comes from the new started in our team this week and the energy¬† boost that we’ve had from that. Might also come from the fact that I’m off to Drupalcon tomorrow morning. Either way…

I caught a post on Hacker News about becoming a better programmer – something that I believe that we should all become. Jason Rudolph’s “Programming Achievements” was the first of the links that I came across. It was one of his first sentences that perhaps made me sit down and rethink – having small¬† clear attainable goals.

I know that I tend to focus on larger pictures and do not quite break the problem down into small enough pieces. Sometimes I need to sit on my hands and break out the plain paper and pens for a little longer. Put in milestones and time frames. This does not just apply to coding but also my writing.

Back to coding though…

I believe that I’ve gone through some of the program in the open sections bits in terms of setting up Open Correspondence and making some contributions to Open Shakespeare and Milton. I’m working on some other things that I will share shortly once I am happier with them. I’m hope to perform a refactotum of Open Correspondence following some recent work and learned experience. Working in the Drupal space offers some chances to try and offer patches in the short term.

I should give more lightning talks as a) I find it hard to give them and b) the research should help me learn more. Again, the Drupal space might help with this and encourage me to learn and try more.

Perhaps the most useful bits for me would be the different platforms or the building blocks sections. I’ve written web apps and touched on realtime apps (though not in great depth) but have not really written non-trivial desktop or mobile apps. That means not only learning different platforms but also languages and concepts. Not easy or quick but, I believe, worth it in long run.

I also came across Avdi Grimm‘s blog via Hacker News as well which adds a bit more, particularly some useful book links that I’ll be looking to purchase soon. Especially the Seven Languages in Seven Weeks to broaden my current experience and get into other languages which will teach me other techniques.

I’ve got a couple of projects which are about to launch and I now want to get them to launch. Being out of the office (and losing some time to networking last week) has made me shift this but I’m looking at it as an opportunity to learn and make strides from rather than anything else. I’ll be using next week’s conference as a learning opportunity not only in Drupal but putting some of these to the test.