24 August 2008

Reinventing wheels

Writing software from scratch is expensive. Each time you try to do something from scratch, it take ages to get it to work. Conversely, copy-pasting ready solutions means taking the advantage of all the time spent by others on the same problem and your work is likely more than half done. So there is no surprise in the fact that companies adopt avoiding reinventing wheels as a standard practice, as from a profit standing point reinventing is bad. However, you can find quite a few benefits on making things from scratch. The first benefit is obviously instruction, self-instruction. By making things from scratch you learn way more than by just copy-pasting. A second less obvious benefit is that, although you risk seriously to do it worse than others, and maybe taking quite a long time, there is some chance to do it better, perhaps finding a solution that better addresses your specific problem and more efficiently. Indeed, there is also a chance that you can invent something new, unexpectedly, something that may possibly not even be related to the thing you had in mind. In my humble opinion, in a world striving for better wheels, provided you can focus on your vision the subtle lines connecting issues and solutions, reinventing wheels is the most exciting activity you can hope to be busy with. This hint is where this blog starts.

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