Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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Software is made of people.

Published: 02 Jul 2011

Software is like internally consumable products. For the most part, the only thing I internally consume is food and occasionally some medicine. This keeps me fit (well, alive) and free of foreign objects passing uncomfortably through my system. I am then ready to tackle the challenges laid out for me in life.

Just like Software. Sort of.

If you think of software as a consumable product it’s easier to categorize the software. Especially if you fancy yourself a software connoisseur (like myself). Food is made by chefs, Software is made (hopefully) by developers. I’m not necessarily talking about big box Microsoft or Oracle software. Those don’t have personalities behind them. They’re devoid of it, even.

Following software and design, one quickly learns who the best developers are. Thanks to twitter and the new Internet world, you follow them. You learn who works well together and who has issues. You learn to trust (or shy away from) their products purely because of who they are. The Apple App Store is great for this.

The great thing about the software world over restaurants is that you don’t have to deal with annoying websites. We have github and language specific sites tracking all this for us.

When I look at software, the best thing I can see is this:

This is someone who works on YUI full-time yet still spends his weekends optimizing it. This is different from part-time contributions. I would expect him to be tired of YUI by Friday. Nope, he’s making it more awesome.

Software is people, and these people make awesome software.

I look at this and think how poorly I contribute back to the ecosystem. I am a critic, going from producer to producer and judging them. I only hope my judgements are thorough and fair.