Old Frontier News
I suppose I should have realized this beforehand, but a full-time Frontier programming job is unbelievably stressful! It’s because now I have a job that I care about. When I was in QA, I just did the best I could, and didn’t worry about getting fired, because I hated QA and didn’t really have anything to lose. As a programmer, though, I really care about keeping my job and doing something useful. Programming is also much more challenging than QA, which I had somewhat foolishly regarded as a good thing. On further reflection, I realize that it really just means I’m much more likely to make a mistake and get fired.
People in academia or living in other parts of the world may not understand why I’m so afraid of being fired. To clarify, I work for a company in Southern California. Companies around here will fire any employee, any time, for any reason. I’ve seen people fired for apologizing in public for another employee’s abusive behavior, for telling upper management the truth about budgetary requirements, for doing more work than was required, and for asking the boss if she was sure about something when the boss was obviously misinterpreting management directives. So, just think about what companies like that will do to someone who actually does something wrong!
This has all given me a new appreciation for the programmers I know who have been living with this kind of stress for years. I can see why they put up with it, though. If you can avoid being fired or having a nervous breakdown, being a programmer is really great! It’s a great feeling to go to work and get paid for something I enjoy doing.
From the beginning of August, I’m working for The Workbook as a full-time Frontier programmer. Their web site is mostly generated on the fly by a really complex system of Frontier CGIs, which I’m now responsible for maintaining. I also write various utility scripts, as needed.
This job makes a really nice change from Quality Assurance. In QA, I would report bugs to programmers, and then wait for months to get any response. Now, I get to fix the bugs myself. Perhaps as overcompensation for years of being stonewalled by programmers, I’ve made a sort of commitment to myself to fix every bug within 24 hours of it being reported, and provide lots of feedback to my co-workers.
I’ve recently been investigating a product called REALbasic, which is essentially a “Visual Basic for Mac” product from a company called REAL Software, Inc. It looks like it would be useful for developing GUI front-ends to work with Frontier. I like REALbasic enough as a stand-alone tool to pay for it, but I’m still playing around with Frontier connectivity.
I have written an experimental Frontier class in REALbasic, along with a demo app to exercise it. I’m planning on trying to write a front-end app for my QA Suite (file comparison tool), but I’m not sure how soon that will be done.