Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Staying Flexible: Develop in Another Environment

I've been doing a little work on a Firefox Extension lately, and I've gotta say, it's stretching me in very different ways compared to the development work that I usually do. That's true of any environment that's new to you.

In any environment where you do a lot of development, you reach a point where everything is either pretty clear, or at least pretty familiar. It's true that I've never written a line of Struts code, but having done work in several other Java web development environment, I'm pretty sure that I could pick up Struts with a minimum of confusion.

The same isn't true of building a firefox extension -- I don't have a broad knowledge base to fall back on. It just took me about an hour to get a shortcut key added to a sidebar, even with a working example, and I'm still not entirely sure how working bit of XUL differs from the original bit of XUL that wasn't, for reasons unknown, working.

While it's a little frustrating not knowing what I'm doing, and wishing the documentation were better, at the same time, I'm inclined to believe that doing some work in another environment is good for me, increases my flexibility, and my sense for the available options.

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