It’s just my job 5 days a week

I was a software developer.  I developed a lot of this program:

See that interface… I made that. I drew those pictures, I developed that map interface based on ESRI’s now obsolete MapObjects LT. I drew all the icons and buttons, and wired the events tied to them.  That grid that connects a “cloud raining” box to a “pond” box… That was my idea.  I wrote the code to do that.  I made that little pond picture using Paint Shop Pro.   

In order to do a continuous simulation hydrology model you would use a Fortran program called HSPF which was developed by the USGS with a company called Aqua Terra Consultants.    It was complex to use –you had to write “input files” in a cryptic and exacting format to show your land use, ponds, outlet structures, soil types, and everything that went into a rainfall simulation. It was not an easy process and there was a lot of room for error.

I got my first real programming job with Aqua Terra in 1999.   They hired me because they had a project with the Washington State Dept of Ecology to make a graphical user interface to let regular engineers and city and state reviewers do continuous simulation hydrology models without being HSPF experts.

For a hint about why there would be a need for this, please refer to the 700 page manual for HSPF.

Or read the manual for the WWHM

…Only 95 pages… and a lot of those pages are filled with nice pretty pictures.

Anyhow that’s what I did a lot of when I was in my 30s.

I wrote a great deal of versions 1 to 4 of that program.  It was a long project and I got to code almost every day.

Now I’m lucky if I get to code EVER.  My day is filled with meetings, documentation, testing, GIS analysis (and very little of that), software support, and more documentation and more meetings.

Most of the actual coding is done by contractors whom I envy to the core.

I can’t complain because it’s a great job.  I just miss coding!  I miss creating things.  That’s why I got into this business in the first place.  So I could program.

Anyhow my point is, I’m stuck doing all the things AROUND coding.  Documentation… meetings… requirements… more meetings… training material… testing… support… repeat.

Administrative things.. meta-coding.  It’s like if we do enough of the stuff AROUND the actual tools we’re trying to create… the tools will create themselves.

…But they don’t.



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