Trust in Case

God says I have trust issues. She has a point, but I contend that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

I was talking to her about some of my tribulations at work this week. I was working on a computer program that relies on an external program and on an internal library that manages communication with that external program. Everything worked great in the test environment but when I moved it out to the production environment, not so great. It was not only taking too long, it was intermittently returning the wrong results. Neither of these were things I could live with.

It’s been a common theme in my career that using other people’s code causes me more trouble than it’s worth. In this case for one function I’m relying on two completely different sets of other people’s code. And at least one of them is failing me, which kind of makes me look bad. And I’ve got enough of my ego wrapped up in my skill as a coder that I think, first, I shouldn’t ever look bad, and second, that I really don’t like it when it’s somebody else making me look bad.

So I don’t like to use other people’s code. Mind you, in modern programming you have to, you just can’t write everything yourself down to the bare metal any more than you can build your own toaster from raw ore, but for some things, you have to figure out if it will take more time to learn somebody’s library, and work your way around whatever it does wrong and whatever it does in a way that isn’t exactly what you need, than it will take you to write your own version that’s expressly tailored to the problem at hand, rather than some generalized case. I find that surprisingly often, writing my own is the quicker route.

Does that mean I don’t trust other coders? Well, yeah, but it’s like the old saying, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

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