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Caffeinated Coder A Grande, Triple Shot, Non-Fat Core Dump by Russell Ball
It's been two months since I set out on my 6 month self-improvement plan to being a better developer. During my last one month update, I set out some specific goals for month two that involved learning about Resharper, NDepend, F#, the Windsor Container, and the ROTOR codebase and then writing some blog posts about my efforts. How did I do this last month?

First, I accomplished one major thing that wasn't even on my radar screen when I came up with my goal list. I resigned my position as an architect and took a job closer to home as a C# developer. I think it finally occurred to me that if I was on the right career path, then I would have written a post about being a better architect rather than one about being a better developer. Certainly, the most important step to becoming a better developer is to actually spend the majority of your time developing, which was something I was doing less and less of at my old job. I also think that it is important to challenge your biases by periodically exposing yourself to new languages, processes, and problem domains. In that sense, I think my decision to leave my comfort zone in a VB.NET shop in the banking industry and switch to a C# shop in the retail industry will do more to make me a better developer than all my original goals put together. That being said, how many of my original goals did I manage to accomplish?

I do feel pretty good about the amount of time I spent on my tool goals this month. With Resharper, I actually took the bold step of shelling out my own money for a personal license so that I could use it at home and on my new job (ok, I was spoiled as far as licensing goes in my old job). I also wrote a few posts sharing some learning resources I used, expressing my desire to be a Resharper Jedi, and singing the praises of the unit test runner. For NDepend, I mused on its proper place in the ever elusive quest for code quality, shared my experiences with analyzing WatiN, and explained some of the basics of CQL. 

I also made satisfactory progress on my code reading goal, although I didn't do it with ROTOR like I originally planned. I did actually download ROTOR, but once I realized that the codebase was in C++ and thought about the fact that I should probably be spending my time looking at C# code because of my new job, I opted to spend time digging into WatiN instead. I wrote some general thoughts on exploring a new code base and shared some setup notes that gave me trouble when first trying to build the project.

My non-MS goals did not go nearly as well. After successfully registering for the ALT.NET conference, I decided to swap out my F# goal for my Ruby on Rails goal in this category. I did get a few chapters read in Ruby For Rails by David Black, but I'm still making my way through the basics and haven't reached any epiphany moments yet that were worth writing about. 

I got nothing at all done on my Windsor goal and did not make any contributions or opening inquiries into an open source project yet. I think I am going to wait until I figure out which tools I will be using extensively in my new job before committing to an open source.

So what's on my agenda for the next month?

  1. Tools: Regulator, MBUnit, and more on NDepend
  2. Code Reading: Rhino.Mocks
  3. Non-MS: Ruby on Rails
  4. Higher on the Abstraction Stack: NHibernate

Once again, I will aim to write at least one post on each of the topics in the next month. Hopefully, I will attain all of my goals this time around.

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 8:25 AM Becoming A Better Developer | Back to top


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