Friday, November 3, 2006

The Benefits of Reinventing the Wheel

[This was originally posted at]

When someone else already makes a good, working tool, you may not want to reinvent the wheel and build a similar thing yourself. Of course we want to reuse code and not waste time repeating someone else's work. However, as an extracurricular activity, there can be benefits to creating your own version of an interesting tool:

  • Great learning opportunity - You'll understand something better when you build it yourself. You can then also compare your solution with the industry standard, and check for general trends to possibly improve your programming (i.e. "I did it this way, but they did it that way... ah... that's why they did it that way.")
  • A sense of personal accomplishment - you may a fun tool. That someone else already made a similar tool doesn't diminish your own adventure.
  • An appreciation for the tool when you see how hard it was to write.
  • The possibility that you can write it better.
  • You can customize it to your unique needs.
  • If the tool isn't free, you can now have your own copy that you don't need to worry about licensing for.
  • It's fun to write cool tools - even if someone else already has. Especially when you're a younger developer, you need to start somewhere - you can't always write flashy new things that no one has seen before.

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