Software Development Blogs

by Krishna on June 29, 2009

Jurgen Appelo has the latest edition of the top developer blogs up. Surprisingly, I have jumped from 149 to 127 despite having a couple of months where I hardly wrote anything at all, and also after a move to WordPress that seems to have dropped my RSS subscribers by half.

I have been noticing the reduced frequency of many bloggers that I follow. Perhaps the pervasive use of Twitter has contributed to this, because what used to be a post is now a Twit. This is perhaps a good thing as it raises the quality of the average blog post. But at the same time, it moves the attention of the blogger away from writing longer posts, the cycle feeds on itself and the frequency keeps going down.

Writing, like other creative activities, requires momentum. You cannot just turn it on and off. The more you write, the more you are inclined to write. If you stop for sometime, it is harder to restart the process. They talk about writer’s block. It is much more difficult when you haven’t written anything for a while.

Another problem is that when you have a gap, there is an added pressure of producing something of higher value than usual. Perhaps like an actor who took a break and wants to pick a movie that is sure to become a hit. This means further delay as the selection process continues ad infinitum. On the other hand, if one is writing frequently, there will be good ones and bad ones, and you are generally more concerned with the process than the outcomes.

One aspect specific to writing about software development is that after a while of writing, you get a sense of déjà vu, as you go over the same ground and topics. Sometimes, it also seems that you are beating the same point to death. Part of keeping it interesting is to be able to keep a broader mind and keep looking at new developments and ideas.

Obviously, software development is a highly innovative field, but a lot of the innovation is in the tools such as languages and frameworks. The overall process of managing software development doesn’t change so quickly. And it shouldn’t, really, because it would mean an unstable working environment with the managers trying the latest management fad. That partly contributes to some of the repetitive themes in blogs.

And of course, life happens. Writing a blog is generally a labor of love for most people who are not paid to do it and don’t have ads (like this one). And you do it juggling time between work and family, snatching a few extra minutes at the start or end of the day or during a weekend. Sometimes, there is not enough to juggle.


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