Anyone that has worked with me throughout my programming career could probably tell you that I’m not afraid to write custom software.
In fact some would probably say I tend to prefer it, and they wouldn’t be 100% incorrect. I mean I did write this blog software from scratch even though there are gobs of off-the-shelf things that work just fine and do a whole lot more (in my defense I did give wordpress a try for a bit but found it too hackable and problematic for the simple features I actually wanted).
And I did drag my feet for a very long time before finally switching over from my legacy, custom comment board system to the Disqus comment system (though I did finally switch over for this blog as you can see below).
Still - there are many times when I’m happy to take a short cut if it’s there (I am after all VERY lazy - something else people who’ve worked with me can attest to).
For example, I recently bought some PHP scripts from http://www.svetlozar.net (for less than $100) which are supposed to help you import contacts from yahoo, gmail, hotmail, and aol mail. They basically use PHP curl to accomplish this, and so really it’s pretty basic stuff that I could have easily written on my own.
But to work out all the little details and glitches, it probably would have taken me a couple of nights of hacking around in each mail system. On the one hand it could be interesting and useful to learn the inner workings of each mail system’s contacts set up…but on the other hand, it was a much better use of my time to spend the money and save the time.
As it was, I needed to make a handful of small hacks to the scripts to get them to work for my specific situation (I’m plugging them into custom spots of Hero Brawl to work with the ‘friending’ and referral stuff).
Still, it was much easier in this case to just save some time and buy myself the head start. Guess it’s just something I need to keep in mind for the future.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).