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Why You Need to Start Somewhere
On getting letting the best way being the enemy of done
Early in my career, I got asked to write a custom calendar system. Part of the request was to integrate it with another calendar system and combine their events together in one feed.
Easy enough I thought, I’ll just install some library. Just have to figure out which one based on the format. After browsing through the feed, though, it became clear that the other system didn’t use iCal or CalDAV or EAS or anything I recognized.
I had no one to reach out to ask to help figure it out either. I was it.
A couple of days later I was starting have my confidence shaken, because I couldn't find the "right way" to do this. At one point I thought to myself, "I am a fraud who doesn't know how to code."
So I gave up on finding THE way to do the thing with whatever format it was using, and I began the slog of making my own parser. Turns out the incoming feed was a nonconforming, inconsistent, buggy mess.
I could have saved a couple of days of trying to elegantly solve the problem by a few hours of painful coding. All I needed to do was start somewhere.