You Either Think Graphically or You Don't

John Tregea john at
Mon Nov 21 01:48:30 EST 2005

Hi Greg,

> I really don't want to stir up a debate, but I feel lost in today's 
> world of application creation.

You and many millions or others I suspect

> What kind of application do you want to make?

Having something worthwhile to achieve is a driving force in all the good
applications I have ever written. If I couldn't feel the worth, I couldn't
"code" as you call it. 

> What kind of appication like you want to make is already out there by 
> the dozens?

I don't think there are dozens of GOOD applications Greg, but there are
thousands of average ones. The good ones gather a following of passionate
people and can live on for years past the originator steps away from his or
her creation (e.g. Revolution, metacard, supercard, hypercard) {and the
heritage from people like Bill Atkinson at Apple that was the lead on the
original HyperCard project at Apple and his work was in response to
visionaries from the forties and fifties that conceived of hypertext linking

> Why make a duplicate of an application that exists and already does most 
> of what you want?

So many people use so little of the features in even one application, if you
can select out the USEFUL bits and give a craftsman the tools to do a job in
their field without wasting time (and money on useless [to them] features)
that can be good for both you and the craftsperson.

> Why spend months/years learning to develop something that you could buy 
> for relatively little money from someone else?

Why have a portrait painted when you can have a polaroid taken? For the love
of the medium, the subject, the time it takes, the care involved, the way it
reflects the light from the open fireplace (for those of us in cold

> Is your idea really that much better than one that has already been put 
> into code?

It is the strength of execution of your idea in the medium that creates the
value surely. Our Managing Director is a creative writer and she expects the
medium to have its own strengths and weaknesses. Your (or my) ability to
know and work with the strengths and weaknesses of this medium (or any
other) is what makes our work a genuine communication of the essence of the
actual idea that started us on the journey (or not). 

> Why "code" at all?

Coding isn't a "better" way of communicating knowledge; it is a "different"
way. It is different from television or cinema or radio or theatre or novels
or directories or reference books. It is more suited to some activities and
less to others.


You don't ask a cinematographer to make a movie, you ask them to use the
tools which are their craft to be a part of a team, to follow (hopefully)
good direction, to help visualise their dimension of what is ALWAYS a
multi-dimensional communication task.

> Has the wheel really been invented over and over again?

There are "Genre's" of software just as there are genre's of movies or
novels etc. A good piece of work within a genre can raise the "minimum
expectations" of the users of a particular genre and therefore raise the bar
for everyone else coding in that area.

> Why is it so hard to make an application without re-inventing something 
> that has already been made thousands of times?

If you know how and why things have been done before you won't re-invent,
you will make use of... I think there is a quote about "Standing on the
shoulders of giants" to see a new horizon. Well this industry is not full of
giants, but we have had them, the same as each other new "technology".
People that saw further and moved the horizon back for everyone else. 

> With all of this talk about object oriented, reusable code, why does it 
> still take so long to produce anything really useful or unique?

How long did it take you to master whatever medium you use for your art now?

Oh, my... I better stop.

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