Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Parcour Programming

Parkour, or free running, is like gymnastics with no gym. This video is a great example of what it is all about. One of the principles behind parkour is that you don’t go back: you set your sights on a destination and just get there. If buildings, lamp posts, vertigeous drops or frankly anything gets in your way, you overcome it quickly, economically, and elegantly.

At Keima we are developing prototype products, and it strikes me that this feels a lot like parkour: we wish for functionality and we start coding; if anything technical gets in our way, we overcome it ASAP.

A prototype only needs to work on one platform, under tightly controlled conditions, and for a short period of time. This contrasts sharply with the process of product development, where the majority of effort is spend stabilizing the code to work under all situations, and to fail gracefully when it cannot. This is more like building a wall than vaulting over one.

In the days before I programmed professionally, all my projects were prototypes, and they were all infused with this spirit. It is nice to have that feeling again. It is the closest that somebody as nerdy and risk averse as myself is likely to get to real parcour :-)

No comments: