Syntaxus Dogmata

An Insane Developer's Journal


Syntaxus Dogmata
” Learn the codeLive the codeBe . . . the code!”

I’m a very zen sort of programmer.  By that, I mean that if I’m not feelin’ it, it just ain’t happening, and that’s all there is to it.  I’ve abandoned more personal software projects than David Duchovny has seen breasts, so the fact that this web site exists at all is something of a small miracle.

A while back, I hooked up with an old gang of mine from the Dead Hacker’s Society.  Contrary to its decidedly antisocial name, the group (or was it a “crew?”) was really just a community of electronic BBS users whose most clandestine activity at the time included a university campus, a duck pond, one ill-fated plastic bottle and a handful of dry ice.  Okay… several handfuls.  The shock wave literally set off car alarms in the quad.

Hey, don’t you be judgin’ me!

Touching base with those guys fifteen years later, it hit me how much things had changed since then — how much I had changed.  Back in those days, I held such a strident passion for creating software that it never even occurred to me to pursue any other career in life.  After all, I had been programming since I was twelve years old when my parents bought me that old 8-bit Atari home computer.  While the rest of the neighborhood kids were entering puberty the way Spider-Man enters a burning orphanage, I was busy entering cyberspace with delusions of WarGames and Tron whizzing through my brain.  Back then, it’s what made life worth living.

Somehow, once school was over and my career began, everything changed.  Software was no longer a hobby to me — it became a job.  Programming had always been challenging work, but never had I seen it as actual labor until I started drawing a salary.  That spark of pure enthusiasm was lost among the baggage that comes with a career.  Imagination and indulgence were replaced by design specs and deadlines.  Time spent creating was replaced by pushing efficiency and business value.  It took about ten years or so for my passion to fade, and I hadn’t even realized it until one day I looked up and found myself in a place I never thought I’d be.

To my shock, I actually hated software development.  I despised it and loathed it with every fiber of my being, and I lamented the days gone by when it was something I considered to be fun and worthwhile.

In short order, I realized what had happened.  By taking on software development as my career, I shifted fundamentally from justifying myself based on the results of my work to justifying myself on how and how fast that work was created.  Looking back, I understand there was no way I could have seen it coming, but it’s something I regret nonetheless.

That’s what Syntaxus Dogmata is about.  It’s my attempt at returning to my roots — to regain that spark of enthusiasm I haven’t felt in over fifteen years.  I can’t think of a better way to do that than to revisit the very thing that got that twelve-year-old boy interested in computer programming in the first place

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