Execution, It’ll Kill Ya

I’ve been trying to avoid quoting The Folks over the past few months,
but Carl‘s brought up a
point that my ever process curious self can’t resist commenting on…

I’m beginning to realize that in art, just as in manufacturing, more
effort goes into figuring out how to execute a design than in actually
drawing one up….You can calculate ink wetability on a silicon
architecture channel or determine the proper exposure of a piece of
film using some arcane complex differential equation. But, in the end,
you have to build the ink channels up in a FAB somewhere and process
your little piece of negative film somehow. These are things that are
so complex and open for errors as to make them theoretically
intractable problems.

As you might guess, my first instinct is to relate this to
programming. Namely: you can design a great API, implement it well,
even test it to be 100% bug-free, but then if your servers are crap,
it all goes to hell, and no gives a flying fuck that you, the coder,
did your job. This has happened to me recently, and I’ve seen it
happening to a lot of other people, so I’ve been fast resolved that
getting your IT right is probably more important than getting your
code right: you can always re-code, but it’s a bugger to, well,
“re-server.”

By IT, I mean the computers you’d deploy your software on: be it
desktops (which I’ve never done, really) or web-servers (which I’ve
done exclusivly). Making that transition from development and QA boxes
to actual production boxes is, for some unexplicable reason, the most
dangerous part of the whole process.

As usual, my point is a bit cliché, and well known, but, in
light of the current buzz about orginizing efforts, I think it’s
critical to keep in mind that any group of coders needs and equally,
if not better skilled, group of system admins. Indeed, the task of the
system admins is often harder than the programmers, as they both need
to know enough about programming to deploy the code and be
masters at of the machines they’re using. But, as Carl says of finally
getting it all right,

I was shocked at how much better a photo looks when properly framed.

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