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Anthony Ferrara:
Reinvent The Wheel!
August 06, 2012 @ 09:03:19

In this recent post to his site, Anthony Ferrara takes an the phrase "reinventing the wheel" and wonders if, maybe, it's not such a bad thing sometimes.

"Don't Reinvent The Wheel" is a phrase that we hear used all the time in software development. Usually it's used in the context where a library exists to do what the user wants, but they are writing their own. While the sentiment is usually correct, I can't stand the implication of the phrase. Therefore, I can't stand it when people use that phrase without understanding what it really means. Let me explain...

He notes that, while there might be things out there that do something well, it doesn't mean that the "wheel is perfect" and you shouldn't venture out and try something new. He points out two places where it could be good - when a general solution doesn't work and for education/research.

Even as a senior developer, if you never try to reinvent the wheel from time to time, you'll never push your capabilities. You'll never expand your conceptual model of problems. And if you never do that, the world will blow past you.
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