This was Day 5 of my Thirty Day Challenge. Since then, I’ve elected to pursue Web Development. Disregard any talk of retirement.

I decided to retire from software development; the reason for this blog is to be a writer. I can still write about the languages I used, while programming with a team or while a system engineer solving problems. I always preferred the latter and was proud of solving problems. Perl and Python always worked. These are not for software engineering – Java works a lot better for major web development. But Perl and Python can be scripted in a pinch for scraping websites or analyzing ASCII text data. They can do more than what many might think.

I once wrote a custom TFTP server for sending data in Perl. The client only had TFTP capability and the lack of security built into TFTP was an issue. So I wrote a daemon that listened for TFTP GET requests and it sent the data based on the IP address of the client. It could not do PUT requests and it ignored requests from other IP addresses. Perl allows you to form packets and the RFC for TFTP broke out the packet information.

I also wrote a Perl-based billing system that billed Internet users by charting the 95th percentile of bandwidth using RRDtool and Perl to base the billing on each customer’s contract agreements. While all of this sounds primitive, major Java websites require months of teamwork, this is in the early 2000s and commercial software packages costed tens of thousand of dollars. I was able to get these working in days by myself.

This made me a good problem solver script-wise but as a team software developer, contributing to meet goals replaces problem solving. Many times learning something new was necessary to keep up and if I worked for years with one language, that didn’t make me qualified to write for another system using the same language! I stopped professionally writing code 2-1/2 years ago. I will continue to create websites using JavaScript, PHP, Python, etc., but will not write Java code unless I write Android Apps.

I am learning Swift for iOS development. It is a personal goal, but if it pans out, I’ll offer to write code for others. That and WordPress or other PHP websites. These are good problem-solving tools. I wrote about the Wii Bowling website I use for my community. That took hours to write in PHP. Time is money. Writing website code that takes six months to a year for three or more coders costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I’m not putting down those who need the scalability or the security of such code. Facebook could not run successfully with a small-scale system and low-priced code. It’s just that not everyone needs it. On the other hand, a lot of do-it-yourself packages do not provide the sophistication to do what is necessary. WordPress can do a lot with custom coding. And its open-source design will allow that. Just be careful when writing the code. If a root code file is modified an upgrade will overwrite your code. But there are WordPress gurus that can customize WP thanks to its design.

My background emphasizes large-scale coding and it’s been hard to find work for lower needs with that background.

One problem now is finding the best JavaScript framework for one’s needs. I looked at Node.js, React.js, Ext JS, and others. All work well for some things like Ext JS for cross-platform web applications or Node.js for server-side JS. As other frameworks come about, specialized programmers are needed. That’s why I fit well with one team and not for another.

So I hope that I can make it as a writer. One way is to write marketing blurbs to get applications or products sold. Another way is to review the technology. Yet another is to be a critic. If it is the money, the former is likely the best bet, but I’m learning that in finding freelance work I can’t sell myself with a wide-range of goals. So I’ve been looking for the right set of topics to key into search engine optimization. This blog will never be that narrow. It also can’t sell me as a writer. I will need published work with endorsements from other places.

Everything is digital and programming is required. Also, everything has bugs. Not every modernized device is better than the analog devices they replaced. Automatic transmissions in cars come to mind. The Internet of Things will assure programmers that everything will be digital. I love my mechanical watch and will never replace it with a smart watch. Programmers learn fast that devices aren’t smart. People should realize that as well. The day will come when a mechanic will come with a tablet, log into the refrigerator, diagnose the cooling problem and update the code to fix the bug.

Is this a cynical view of new technology? Maybe. Time is money. If pharmaceutical medicine is forced to do stringent testing before marketing and still find problems too late for some people, imagine the lack of stringent testing of software in large machinery where government rules don’t enforce testing. But there is no quality that good marketing can’t get around. Perhaps it’s not the technology I need to bash. Everyone’s in marketing now.