Getting out of the weeds


I’ve been struggling to ship a few of my ideas.  It turns out that I’m not alone; plenty of developers go through this problem.  The good ones get over it, and quickly. I’ve been analzying my behavior, what I spend my personal coding time on (at work I have no trouble shipping), and I’ve come to realize that I spend a lot of time in the weeds.

For software, being in the weeds means dealing with details that don’t matter to shipping. My newest example is fighting with JQuery AutoComplete functionality in my ASP.NET MVC application. Even though everything is correct, it simply won’t autocomplete.  I’ve spent the last three coding sessions futzing with it, only to not get anything done. 

I spent 6 hours trying to get autocomplete to work when I could have spent five minutes on a dropdownlist and been done with it.

All during that time, I was just thinking about how to get it to work, or what could have gone wrong (maybe my routes weren’t defined correctly? Maybe I don’t have the path correct for JQuery?) instead of just implementing the simplest feature and going about my business.  The entire rest of the application took about 2 hours to spec and write, so to spend 6 hours on a tiny polish feature is asinine.

So here’s what I’m going to do: Post my code here, see if there are any takers to figuring out where I went wrong, and move on.  I’ve got a deadline to meet, and I won’t meet it by staying in the weeds.


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