Get Outside of Your Pool of Influence

30 March 2010

For quite a while now, Scott Hanselman has frequently talking about reading Open Source code to learn new ideas. I really like this thought. When you work on the same project every day, collaborate with the same people every day, continuously read books by the same publishers, and frequent blogs written by the same authors, you continue to learn new ideas and new technologies. But, this type of continuous education can still be lacking the diversity of thought needed to make you better. Observing the stylistic differences in code from new sources can have a big effect on you. Even if it is in the way you do everyday tasks like checking for null and setting a default, it can impact you and your style. Writing a plug-in for a pluggable app such as SportTracks or DotNetNuke, can affect the way you think about architecture. Learning about the inner workings of NHibernate can have big effect on the way you think about exposing events. Do not be complacent or afraid to look for new sources of inspiration. Grok the ideas and style of as many sources as you can. And, tinker with what you find. You just might find that you really like what you initially rejected.