Most programming companies will claim they write quality code. But after reviewing literally millions of lines of other programmers’ code, I believe I can say with some credibility that quality programming is scarcer than one might expect. Over the past 17 years, we’ve been asked to take over support and development of many applications written by other programmers. Some were well-written and reflected considerable attention to detail. Most resembled a bowl of spaghetti—overflowing with non-standard naming conventions, unnecessary indirect references, non-normalized database structures, and a copy-and-paste approach to coding that demonstrates precious little regard for future enhancements or support. When we inherit such projects, we’ve usually been able to revise them, bring them to a successful conclusion, and deliver a superior product that our customers will use for years.
When developing a new application from the ground up, we start by designing normalized data structures. Then we create a set of reusable classes and procedure code so the completed application will have a standard look and feel. Using standard naming conventions is a requirement for all programmers working at our company. So is the use of embedded commentary. As a result, future programmers will quickly be able to understand the purpose and functionality of a given section of code months or even years after it was first written.
Over the years we’ve acquired a considerable level of experience identifying what personal traits, test scores and interview results are predictors of a great programmer. And it shows: although our current staff is relatively small, I don’t believe you’ll find a more creative, intelligent or cohesive group to work on your project.
I realize we’re not much to look at: We don’t offer a polished sales presentation. You probably wouldn’t voluntarily choose to socialize with our geeky programming staff members. Winning friends and influencing people isn’t our strongest suit. But if you’re looking for a solid partner who’s been around the block a few times, who’ll listen to your needs, pay attention to detail, and demonstrate genuine concern for your company’s continued growth and success, I believe we’re worth a closer look.