35+ years a developer - but you get me wrong

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 9:55 PM UTC

I coded my first program on a TI-99/4A using the "Extended Basic" cartridge (do you youngsters know, what a cartridge is?) I don't remember the purpose of it, I guess it was the famous

10 print "hello"
20 goto 10

program and it obviously didn't even utilize the power of the extension at all.

I switched to the Commodore C64 with all the PEEKS and POKES and I ended up using a tool to code 6510 assembler to speed things up. It took me years to continue to use my programming skills on a PC when I started my apprenticeship in 1992.

Using VBA, VB, Visual Fox Pro, Access and MS Active Server Pages to create "apps" (that word didn't exist at that time) I built a network to others and finally started a new job just doing this nerdy stuff as a profession. Since then (in 2000) I am programming with Notes and Domino.

Am I a programmer?

But what you do not know about me is my addiction to learn "how machines work". I guess it's based on my original profession as an electronic technician. I like to understand which wires are responsible for a certain function.

Through the years I learned a lot of administrative tasks on Domino. I learned that even a developer should know about how the system works. I think this is true for all developers on a certain platform. On Domino this part is huge and can be complex if you dive into special areas.

Most Domino developers don't care about how their systems work but I learned from the beginning how to maintain "my" development server.

During the past couple of years I also learned how to set up a proper OS that runs Domino, in my case this is Linux. I am not the bash-script guy but I know how to install and troubleshoot a system. Windows - well, this is a special story. Installing a software on Windows is not a big deal, you have a UI and all the other clutter that doesn't matter to run a Domino server. From my point of view the most ineffective way to run a server at all, but this is just my 2 cents.

I like consoles!

With all the stuff that we nowadays call "DevOps" it got more and more interesting. Automating tasks, running a script, reading logs and orchestrating VMs and containers - all this is so pleasant and makes things so much easier! Ease is what I am trying to achieve as I get older and more lazy.

I was one of the first "users" of the IBM Cloud fka IBM Bluemix, and despite it had some caveats at that time and was slow as hell during deployment, I really enjoyed the ease of use. I played a bit with Heroku (which is awesome stupid simple and fast) but never had some serious use cases for it.

So am I a developer?

When someone asks me about programming in LotusScript, Formula, Javascript or even Java (which I only use as a "necessary evil" for years now because I am still coding a lot on Domino with XPages here and there) I can help and answer but I am not the person who "lives" this passion - I guess I never did.

There are other people's names that come to my mind when it comes to "passion to code". You know those names, too, especially in the Notes and Domino bubble.

My interests really are focussed on

  • how to set up a valid development environment for a certain product or technology
  • how to install and maintain a certain product
  • how to keep things up-to-date without hassle
  • how to automate tasks
  • how to troubleshoot all of the above
  • which tools to use
  • coding of course, still, as I do this for a living

Well, this looks more like I am a DevOps guy - which isn't true, either. I am living in between 2 worlds whereas the non-programming part is becoming more and more important for me. During work hours and afterwards, too.

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