As a developer, how much time do I spend adding value, and how much time maintaining infrastructure ?

Sometimes my estimate goes like this

  • Adding Value: 20% of my time
  • Maintaining Infrastructure 80% of my time

Really I have no idea, but sometimes it seems like it really is lopsided.

What is the most whacko for me is that I can, and do, automate almost everything that I do, at least in pieces and at times. But it is always a challenge, and getting my various automation tools to play nicely with each other is not always easy. I love to use groovy and grails and maven and eclipse for example, but getting a grails project to work properly in eclipse with the groovy plugin and maven is pretty much a contradiction, a project that is structured for one tends to have the wrong structure for the other.

So here is what I have decided would be the holy grail:

One Developer's Dream:

Make all these tools work seamelessly together without having to constantly change one to match the needs of the other:

  • drupal
  • freemind
  • maven
  • groovy
  • grails
  • drools
  • eclipse
  • osgi
  • eclipse plugin
  • externally called programs such as aoi

To Follow and Not to Lead

If I have learned nothing else in the past five years, it has been to be a good follower. Always better to follow in the footsteps of giants rather than re-invent my own frameworks, generating routines, build structures etc. The trick then is to find some way to get the giants that I follow to walk together.


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