I was sitting in a bar the other night, listing to some live music and having a beer, when it hit me. We (software developers) are really quite lucky. In most cases, we have the luxury of sending out bug fixes and updates without much thought. Sure, there is often some inconvenience to the user that I touched on in my post about ‘the software update problem‘, but for the most part, you’re just improving an existing product so rarely people will complain.
But other ‘artists’ or ‘product creators’, don’t really have the same freedom. As I sat in that bar and heard this guy performing, it hit me – a musician only gets to publish a song once. Sure, they can perform it live differently, but really, when a song is published along with it’s music video, it’s stuck that way. The musician may later realise that a couple of the lyrics don’t really make sense or a specific chorus may sound better using a different chord, but by then it’s too late.
They don’t get a second chance.
It’s the same for most other artists. A painter only gets to finish their painting once. A writer or poet may get to publish multiple editions of their book but for the most part, not much will change.
This makes for quite a lot of pressure on the creator. Can you imagine only being allowed to publish your website just the once? Even if you had the same freedom as the writer and were allowed to push out a ‘revised edition’ once every couple years, it’d still be logistical nightmare.
Software is different. Software provides the freedom to iterate and improve everything we do. To take risks and later pivot in a completely different direction and reimagine our primary focus.
So remember that next time you’re listing to a song or admiring a painting. They managed to get it right the first time – while you get the chance to fix it, forever.
December was tiring. Several of us WooThemes ninjas spent the month writing a blog post, every single day, just for the sake of it. But it was fun. It pushed us to hit the publish button, produce more content and improve our writing.
But that’s over. Now it’s time to really push ourselves. This isn’t a kids game anymore.
Welcome to The January Commit, a 31 day challenge demanding each participant makes at least 1 commit on GitHub daily throughout January.
Regardless of how well you write code or develop products, updates are mandatory. When it comes to the software, the phrase ‘nothing is perfect’ is especially true.
So you’ll need to make updates. Probably a lot of them. Not just to cover bugs and improve compatibility, but also to add new features and enhancements to keep new and old customers happy (and coming back for more).
I made my first theme for WordPress about 3 years ago. It sucked. Not just because of the actual style / functionality of it, but more specifically, the admin experience was an awful, unthought-out, careless disaster.
I designed a settings panel to try and make the user’s life easier. Instead, it destroyed it. Well, their life probably wasn’t destroyed, but their user experience definitely was.
Since that time, I’ve probably built about 25-30 plugins and learnt a few things about designing a (WordPress) product for the user.
I’m not going to preach to you, but I’m going to ask to consider that if you’re a developer or have interested in development at all, should you be coding more?
You don’t have to be building complex solutions to even more complex problems, solving all the world’s problems with your beautiful code. No, it doesn’t have to like that.
But writers tend to try and write everyday, just to keep that creativity and energy inside of them alive, so shouldn’t the same apply to developers or ‘coders’?