Dan North on Why Programming is not a Craft

Dan North has a post up about why programming is not a craft.  In general, +1.

He uses an analogy about masonry:

"There is a difference between the mindset of a master stonemason sculpting the expression on the face of a gargoyle and someone using the commodity blocks that make up a multi-storey car park. In the latter case the last thing I want is someone’s “personality” causing some of the blocks to be different sizes and no longer interchangeable, never mind the added expense of having someone manually hew the stone rather than using machine tools. In the former the stonemason’s attitude is indulgent. He is putting his signature (and his ego, and his reputation) into this magnificent representation of Hell’s best. If you just wanted an oil-pouring spout you could get one from a DIY store. Software practitioners – especially, ironically, the good ones – often lose sight of this. They fall in love with the software itself and start thinking of themselves as craftsmen of software."

I made a similar analogy using painters a while back

"When the ‘development of a developer’ pushes from Craftsman to Artist, you have problems. And it is an interesting problem. If you abstract the context as much as possible, wouldn’t you want to have Michelangelo instead of just some competent painter? Seemingly, the answer is obviously yes. But in the real world of business, the answer is no."

Anyway, read the post and the comments.  Good stuff (and some of it unintentionally hilarious).

posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 1:45 PM Print
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