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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants...

It started with Scott Hanselman. I had no particular plans to start a blog at all. However, I was reading Scott Hanselman's turn of the year post and I was struck with an idea.

First, let me give a little background about myself. I'm a software developer. I've been in the industry for coming up to 15 years. I started out professionally writing call centre software. I moved on to code in a variety of different industries from straight IT to marketing and, for the last 7 years, finance.

Though I initially started out writing in Delphi I fast found myself moving toward the Microsoft "stack of love". I should say that this move was not because I instinctively liked Microsofts stuff (in fact in the beginning I actively disliked it - moving from Delphi 3.0 to Visual Studio 5 left me finding Microsoft's offering very much wanting). Rather it was pragmatic. I needed a job and at the time VB was a far more transferable skill than Delphi. What with the all encompassing dot-com bubble of the late 90's I soon found myself working in the webtastic world of classic ASP (weep) and VB server components (remember them?).

Though things can improve - and in my opinion they really did when Microsoft coughed up the first furball of ASP.NET Beta in (I think) 2001. I grabbed on with both hands. Since that point I've been earning my bread pretty much, though not exclusively, in the ASP.NET universe.

The one thing that might not be clear from the above curriculum vitae is this: I AM A COMPLETE AMATEUR. I mean this in both senses of the word:

  1. I have no formal training to speak of - I didn't do a computer sciences degree. In fact my first real coding experience was writing a program in Locomotive Basic for my father on our humble Amstrad CPC.
  2. That said, I love it. I find writing code an intellectually, emotionally, creatively satisfying act. And whilst I undoubtedly have less of the theoretical knowledge which most professional developers seem to have, I probably counter-balance that with a hunger to keep learning and keep trying new things. And since software never sits still that's probably just as well. Keep watching the horizon - there will be something coming over it! And it's worth saying, I have an instinct for developing which serves me pretty well. I'm good at coming up with elegant and pragmatic solutions. Put simply: I'm good at making code work.

So back to the point. In my daily work life, like any other developer, I am repeatedly called on to turn someones requirement into a reality. Very rarely do I achieve this on my own. Like most of us I'm a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants. There's a lot of people out there who come up with useful tools / components / plug-ins that make it possible for me to deliver much more than I would given my own abilities.

So that's what I want to do: I want to talk about the tools, components and techniques that I have found useful in the everyday working life of a developer. It's likely to be quite a "webby" blog as I probably find that the most interesting area of development at the moment.

I don't know how often I will write but my plan is that when I do, each time I'll talk about something I've found useful - why I found it useful, what problems it solved, what issues it still presented me with and so on. This is probably not going to be a "techie techie" blog. Rather a blog that deals with the situations that can confront a developer and how I've responded to them. I hope you find it interesting. And if you don't; please keep it to yourself :-)