I get asked a lot on “how I find the time to keep up with all of this crap” (crap=web stuff). I really don’t have one specific answer, except I am fortunate to have the ability of skim reading as one of my skill sets. I can polish off a book in 3xToilet sittings, 2xPlane Rides between Brisbane & Sydney and maybe 1xHour Reading session at my cubicle.
Here are my books that I’ve kept after a spring clean earlier this year (Jan07) (there is more in a cupboard to the right of these photos, which even have a “BeOS Bible” (that’s how far I date back in this here development world).
I never really took stock of the books I’ve read (I have read them all, sometimes 3 times – I am slow on the uptake at times) and it’s an interesting mixture of reading material. On one hand I still favor Java/J2EE foundations but I also loved my journey in Macromedia / Adobe Flash/FLEX. I’m currently enjoying the realm of .NET (C# mostly) and how that all comes together, but overall I can honestly say that I do love programming in languages of all shapes and sizes.
I’ve found them an interesting hobby to play around in, as each time you delve into a new language, you unlock a new approach to a problem you would of previously solved in another. An example that comes to mind was the way in which I used to write Coldfusion, in that I’d steal a lot of good ideas found in the JSP realm, port them over and apply them to Coldfusion (j2EE Design Patterns are a must for CF developers). I’d then take some of the j2EE goodness and throw them into Flex, as with ActionScript 2.0 to 3.0, we had a lot of OOP in the room (even though 2.0 was just sugar syntax dressed up as OOP). Yet, I loved playing around with C# as this was as close to j2EE as I could get and yet it approached things from a very simplistic attitude.
ASP.NET 2.0 for me is damn basic compared to Coldfusion and requires less fingers on keyboard to achieve the same outcome. Sharepoint 2007 reminds me of a primitive version of Allaire Spectra (back in the day) and so on..
Overall, I have studied a lot of languages and while I haven’t always mastered them, I have enjoyed them (favorite overall was Smalltalk – as it was my first taste of OO if that’s possible).
I never had much time for Python, PHP or Ruby On Rails as whilst I value their contribution to the programming world – just wasn’t for me. As you’ll notice a pattern, that I prefer to keep my languages as simple as possible (why spend countless hours writing 115 lines of code for “hello world” when 2 are sufficient enough)
Did I mention I first started out in my career as a Desktop Publisher, where I’d sit in Artland all day designing. As I also have the design part of my brain and spent a few years in VRML / 3DS Max, Illustrator and Photoshop. I’ve enjoyed them all as for me it’s one big ball of clay to play around with.
My newest toy is Silverlight. Tomorrow, who knows.