Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How it started

In hindsight, I wish I had started this blog sooner. Four or 5 months ago I decided to create an Android app. I am a self-taught programmer who actually manages to do it for a living. Not for a software company, but for a small, non-profit that has a need for a programmer. I'm not making the 6 figures I might be if I had gone to school for it and worked in Silicon Valley or Seattle, but I get to do what I enjoy doing, and that is write code.

Actually, that is not it. Writing code is cool, but creating something from nothing is what really drives me. The outfit I work for gets to do things they could not normally do because they can't afford to hire a "real" programmer with the salary demands that go a long with the education. It is a win-win situation.

At work I program in VB.Net in Microsoft's Visual Studio, along with some VBA in MS Access, and TSQL in SQL Server. I also do a little Java Script programming, and I created an ASP.Net web site. None of this is really Java and it most certainly is not Android.

I'll go in to more details, but the first few weeks were brutal. Something that would take me 10 minutes in VB.Net/Visual Studio would take for 4 or 5 hours or even 4 or 5 days in Android Studio. It was painful at times. I mean physically painful.

Oh, and in case you're wondering Android Studio and Visual Studio are the programming environments one creates programs in. They are sometimes referred to as an IDE, or integrated development environment. If you write a book or a journal you don't scratch it in the dirt you write it in a notebook or on loose paper. If you write it on a computer you might use Microsoft Word or Oracle's Open Office. Word and Open Office come with a lot of tools for formatting and spell-checking. Android Studio and Visual Studio come with tools for programming.

I think of programming as writing a murder mystery novel with dozens of red hearings that must all be resolved by the end. You can't have the murder disappear down a dark, dead-end alley without explaining in excruciating detail how he or she got out of the alley at some point in the program code. When you don't explain these sorts of things in code that what is called bug. When a program you are using crashes it is because the programmer did not cross every T and dot every I. Just like in a complex who-done-it, everything must be thought out and explained by the end or the book falls flat.

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