The Developer's New Clothes

I’m first to admit I’m a little off. In fact, on a few occasions, I’ve been described as “an HR nightmare.” I consider this designation an extreme honor, and attempt to live up to it at all times. Platypus taint. (I’ve succeeded again!)

Many already know of my penchant for wacky t-shirts and long-sleeves. While my style, or lack thereof  is now legendary around my office and among friends, it really started as a complete backlash toward all leadership when I was brought in help save a development project that went poorly.

There’s something deeply satisfying about having protest turn to notority.

Sadly, my ongoing protest has been stifled as I’ve been working on the client site for most of the week, and the client side has a rather rigid dress code.

Thankfully after a month of insane workouts and better eating habits, the “professional” clothes fit again, so at least I avoided needing a tailor, or a visit from Stacy and Clinton (although, if you’d care to nominate me, I’d happily accept — although I’d have trouble faking drama while they throw away my old duds).

For me, I’ve never understood the dress code thing. Business casual, deconstructed formal, black-tie-optional-but-you-goddamn-better-wear-one… I’m not entirely sure what it all gains us. Sure, we all look classy in a tux, so why the faux pas of wearing one to the office? For that matter, why can’t I dine at Spaggia in flip-flops? (Cafe Spiaggia doesn’t count)

And now the tie-in:

I’m a big believer in “form follows function,” so I tend to wonder how we feel all right about slapping lipstick on a pig and then saying all is great with the world. Which, whore of horrors, has been happening on my current project.

I’m a vocal opponent of the Commerce Server Business User Applications because frankly, they’re garbage. Everyone who works with the product knows it, and the business users instantly hate them from the second they start using them. Yet part of my job is trying to sell these applications as full-featured, robust management tools.

This time, I’m being hoisted by my own petard. But that’s another story.

To me, it’s a complete allegory to how poorly the full Commerce Server product is put together. It works, sorta, when you know all it’s quirks. Sure, it integrates with other stuff smoothly, assuming you have a really big hammer and don’t mind dents and overhanging jagged edges.

Sure, I could write my own management apps. I probably should. And make them super WPF/Silverlight shiny. But when I know how crappy the core of what the application is talking to is garbage, how can I possibly feel good about wrapping up garbage with a nice bow and giving it to Aunt Arlene for her birthday?

Knowing all this, what did I spend 4 hours doing today? Changing my WordPress theme.

Vanity (and frailty), thy name is Falquan.