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Hacknot on Developers vs. Programmers

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I found a recent article on Hacknot entitled "Developers are from Mars, Programmers are from Venus" to be particularly relevant to the Lotus Notes context.  The main premise, with which I generally agree, is that like programmers:

[<blockquote>]"Developers like to code as well, but they see it as being only a part of their job function. They focus more on delivering value than delivering program text, and know that they can't create value without having an awareness of the business context into which they will deploy their application, and the organizational factors that impact upon its success once delivered."[</blockquote>]

I have long thought the term "Lotus Notes Programming" to be a bit oxymoronic, in that so much of the work involved in bringing a Notes application to fruition doesn't involve code per se.  With all the various drop-downs, checkboxes, and graphical placement of design elements, it really doesn't require the skills of a "programmer" to create useful business tools with Notes/Domino.  It's hardly surprising then that you usually hear it referred to as "Lotus Notes Development", and this article, while treating programmers rather harshly, does a very good job at elaborating on all the reasons why this is so.

The article reminds me of several instances in which a database I inherited has been grossly overcomplicated due to a programmer's touch. I call this the "why write 5 lines of code when 300 will do just as well?" syndrome.  While it is an over-generalization to say that programmers make bad Notes Developers (several folks in the Domino blogging community provide good counter-examples), if they fit the article's "programmer" stereotype, this would certainly be true.  It is worth noting that I was never a programmer before becoming a Lotus Notes Developer.  I barely skated through my obligatory Pascal class in college, where my main degree was in Environmental Science.  It wasn't until I'd spent 5 years working in a variety of general business roles that I had my Lotus Notes epiphany in 1996, and recognized the potential Notes had to dramatically improve business efficiency with fairly little effort.  And *that* proved to be a very good development indeed!


1 - Amen, Kevin...Very nice post!

Feel free to borrow this line any time you need it: http://interfacematters.com/2006/10/on-being-real-programmer.html

2 - That's a great article, Kevin. Thanks for pointing it out. I wish I could force everyone in my organization who calls me "just a programmer" to read this and understand how much I do that doesn't have anything to do with actual coding.

3 - Sialkot, Pakistan? Are you serious? What in the world are you doing there?

4 - @Esther, glad you enjoyed it. I feel your pain.

@Dan, my aren't we observant?! I'm here combining some family and business travel around the Eid holiday. Nice to see someone paying that much attention.

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