I’ve been meaning to link to some of Dan Chudnov’s essays for a while now. He’s a librarian programmer, or a programmer with an MLIS, who works on some pretty interesting tools. Unlike many other people who can codeswitch between high-tech and low-tech aspects of the profession, he hasn’t eschewed one for the other. In fact, he spends an awful lot of time trying to bridge the gaps that exist. His work log should be on everyone’s rss feed list. The latest entry is about library development, not fundraising, but coding. Dan codes, for a library. Dan thinks more of us should learn to code. I’ll let him tell it.
There seem to be two levels operating here of relevance to library types: First, you cannot afford to be slow, so whatever it takes to learn how to do things faster and better. Second, don’t be stupid about being faster and better – the means exist today to design scalable platforms on top of scalable platforms, and tools on top of tools. So you’d better know what you’re doing, and you’d better be good at it. Or, you’d better know whom to emulate and take every possible advantage of their good work when it can get you up your own curve.
This kind of message needs to be broadcast profession-wide – at the TLA meeting this past April several audience members challenged my assertion that “more of us need to be coders.” My response was, and remains, that in the aggregate, our profession is borderline incompetent w/r/to software development, and the more people we can get who understand this stuff, the more likely our chances of basic survival as an industry.