Pain we forgot

image0Much of the pain in programming is taken for granted. After years of repetition it fades into the background and is forgotten. The first step in making programming easier is to be concious of what makes it hard. So let's put ourselves in the shoes of a smart but inexperienced end user trying to build, test and maintain a simple application.

Anon the intern is charged with managing lunch orders and quickly realises that their job could be done by a computer: Every day at 1000, send each employee an email with a link to a form where they can choose what they want for lunch. At 1200, gather up the replies and email the list to the catering company. At the end of every month, tally up what each person owes and send the list to accounting. While this a simple program, it covers all the basics: data input, validation, error handling, calculation, presentation, communication, reactivity, scheduling, deployment etc. There are probably dedicated apps that cover this particular example but we are more concerned with how an end-user would solve this kind of problem in general and the difficulties they will encounter along the way.