Kind of a sad occasion for me; James is probably my favorite programming blogger. His amazing article Free your technical aesthetic from the 1970s led to one of my favorite of my own blog posts, even if it is badly formatted and probably not well argued. But good for him, for knowing when he was ready to move on.
I have to agree. I really enjoyed James' writing. These essays were short, mostly to the point and fun to read, occasionally pointing out important points without sounding like Joel. Thanks James!
same here; his blog was a consistent source of very high quality and thought-provoking articles.
surprised he didn’t list Slumming with BASIC programmers in his collection of memorable posts. that’s not just my favourite piece of his, but one of my favourite programming blogposts by anyone. it’s a very useful counterbalance to the tendency to endlessly search for more powerful or better-targeted-to-the-domain languages - sometimes it pays to step back and see if you’re actually getting stuff done.
As a fellow “dead” blogger, I understand this decision, as much as I enjoyed his essays.
There are a million things to hate about business programming culture, but one of them is that it’s very easy to get typecast to one thing that you’re good at (regardless of whether it’s what you’re best at) and then be limited by that archetype because, let’s face it, the business world runs on shallow impressions and on decisions made by less curious/capable/intelligent people than us. He advises against being typecast as a programmer, but being typecast as a programming blogger is even worse. It helps you gain visibility early in your career, but it becomes limiting later on, even if what you’ve put out there is of high quality.
On the whole, I’m surprised that anyone does it (having done it). It’s career-limiting and extremely time-consuming, on the behalf of an industry that isn’t known for showing gratitude or returning favors. Given that most of us work on business problems of zero or negative social value, there’s also no higher purpose that can be put behind it.
Can you elaborate on how it hurts your career? I’ve never before heard that.
Everything on the Internet can be viewed by anyone. This includes prospective employers, and most employers want subordinate, consistent serfs and not independent thinkers.
Antifascism makes enemies if you’re in the tech world. Some of those enemies have a lot of power and influence, as I’ve learned.
Most people will judge you to be good at one thing only. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually good at several things. If that one thing is programming blogging, then they will assume that you’re a mediocre programmer and certainly not cut out to be a businessman. (I’m not saying that I want to be a businessman. I’m saying that most corporate employers don’t want to invest in people who aren’t aiming to be executives.)
When you lose opportunities, you’re rarely aware that it’s happening at the time. You usually figure this stuff out 5 years later through various side channels.
Disagree with his perspective in many ways: but it was at least thought out and consistent - usually worth a read.
Best of luck with his further adventures.
That post doesn’t really make any sense to me. It’s time to end his blog because he doesn’t think of himself as a programmer? But it seems like he never has?
Good on him for shutting it down, but this post seems to be intended to shed light on why he’s doing it and I read the post and still have no real idea.
I can’t speak for James, but as he says, he expected this blog to have a limited run and now he feels finished with it.
Having followed him for a while, I would say he chafes at some aspects of programmer culture, especially the inward-facing nature of it. I think he feels that creativity of the type required to develop enjoyable games is sort of exclusive with the type required to be a programmer’s programmer—he wants to focus on the result rather than the method.
I have found his perspective very refreshing, but I guess he feels he’s said all he needs to say.
I got that part, but he doesn’t really answer “Why now?”, which seemed to be the whole purpose of this blog post. That’s what was weird to me.
Sometimes James can be a little “just ship it/get it done” for me, but in general he’s been a nice break from the long, poorly written Medium blog posts. I’ll miss his posts—they shed light on what’s silly about our industry.
Writing concise to-the-purpose solutions is a primary reason for programming in the twenty-first century, indeed.