On Sunday we took Mikey to the Blanton art museum. Mikey is 8 months old, and he really appreciated how his screeches and screams echoed throughout the modern-art section. Oddly enough, he wasn’t as vocal in the European Art section. In walking through the various displays, I couldn’t help but think “What is art, really?” I’m sure you’ve had this thought when looking at one piece of art or another.
This kind of question can be explained away with some clever phrases.”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t stop the screaming that Mikey and I do in the modern art section. If the eye sores I saw could be classified as art, then maybe the functionality we provide to clients can be classified as art. And instead of being called “Developers” we can be “Artists”. (Much like Subway’s “sandwich artist”).
Software, like art, can be beautiful. When the customer can see exactly where a network asset is, or how a trade got executed, or how much money can be saved by catching fraudulent doctors – that’s nothing short of beautiful.
Software, like art, can cause reflection. Well-built applications can provide data mashing that allow perspectives never thought of before. For example – add geo-coding, traffic, and weather layers to your shipment feed data and you more accurately gauge if a shipment is going to be late.
Software, like art, can be a piece of crap. We’ve all had software that sucks. Sometimes it’s too difficult to understand – other times it just isn’t meeting our needs.
Developers, like artists, have stylistic signatures to the code they are working on. Some developers prefer ansi style joins in their SQL code. Other developers produce comment-heavy code (thank you, by the way).
Developers, like artists, can be creative. Based on limited requirements and a finite set of hardware/tools, developers can design amazing systems that meet and exceed requirements. Developers, also like artists, can influence the masses.
Take a look at Google, for example. An average person uses Google more times a day than they use their office phone. It’s important for us developers to create simplistic, elegant solutions that deliver what out customers need.