Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What sort of developer are you ?

I guess a lot of people have already come across Microsofts categorisation of developers into Mort, Elvis and Einstein :

A Mort is a developer who is more knowledgeable about the business than the IT. They are interested in getting the job done as fast as possible with as least code as possible. Drag and drop and click-wiring up events is the order of the day. Even ( yeuch ) copy and paste coding.

Theres is a temptation to label all Mort programmers as poor coders almost hobbyist programmers. But I have come across Mort programmers that can consistently write large amounts of bug free functionality fast. They are also more likely to write functionality the business wants even when faced with too-high level and ambigous specs.

A Mort programmer isnt likely to write the worlds most scalable code. But its often good enough and another programmer can come along and fix a lot of the speed issues afterwards.

I dont count myself as a Mort not sure if I fit the Elvis or Einstein mould most. Duplicate code makes me feel dirty. I want to see a clear seperation of layer between the user interface and business logic. I enjoy crafting a well designed class hierachy or API ( whilst avoiding the pitfalls of over design and patternitis ). I read books and articles and learn new technologies when they look important.

If I need to enhance a Mortified code structure I am quite likely to make the decision to develop new code in the same style. It doesnt make sense to have inconsistent code that the original developer cant follow. On the other hand if its "my" code I feel justified in writing Einstein code, as long as the Einstein code is such for a reason and presents a easy to use interface to the Mort code.

But theres no denying Morts have a valid place in development and dont always deserve the implied label of inferiority. They are often close to the business. The client doesnt directly see how well structured the code is and not all Mort code is more buggy than "proper" code. Maybe a reason is Morts are content to keep following the same coding pattern without the need to always try out the latest techniques.

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