04 July 2013

Unexplored Aptitude

Back in December, after sevenish years of experience, I said goodbye to Flash and ActionScript to work at Artillery on the next generation of JavaScript (the other child of ECMAScript) gaming engines. (Or the first generation, depending on how you look at it.)

I joined without knowing a thing about JavaScript development (we use CoffeeScript, technically), except its syntax. I've always lived comfortably in a compiled SWF, buffered from browsers and web pages. I joined because I'm a generalist, ready to try new technologies and switch if we make a mistake.

Seven months later, I still can't set up a single web page from scratch, but I can figure it out if you give me enough time to put the pieces together. If I have to (I don't). (Incredibly, my 13 year old self wrote tons of long forgotten ASP for my EverQuest guild and school).

Instead, I do so, so much more, choreographing dozens of interacting moving pieces and languages, instead of just one. I always learn enough to be dangerous, a little more to do the job, and sometimes even enough to be a hero. Ultimately, I am always learning and adapting; It's not about mastering a single language or API.

I'm proud of my time with Flash. Unlike rats deserting a sinking ship, I expect it will survive and be stronger than ever, just not in the way anyone will expect, let alone predict. (Okay: Games.) At heart, Flash is a wonderful, familiar, platform-agnostic API for building creative applications. I miss it for its pureness, the lack of moving parts and the display-oriented programming. Not for AS3 or Eclipse.

A friend once described me (over drinks) as a vicious inventor with unexplored aptitude.

That sounded great to me. And that's why I moved on.

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