Request for Comments: The Lazy Coder-Monkey Store
If you don’t mind, I could use your opinion. Yes, you.
You may have noticed that I generally don’t offer complete code samples for the larger projects that I talk about on this blog. The prime example for this is the Parent-Child Query Sorter. The complete code is available, just not in one piece. The intent is that as you are reading the articles you are also copying and pasting and inserting and merging and building the tool on your own. You then understand everything about the tool and could take it apart and put it back together from scratch if you wanted to.
Versus the old way: find some code on a web site, download it, install it, and integrate it without understanding what it does. Who does that help?
The argument is that not everyone has the time to sit down and do all of that reading and copying and pasting. As I’ve done all of it, and I know it takes less than an hour, I find this argument hard to believe. However, I’m willing to agree to disagree.
As a compromise, I came up with an idea: The Lazy Coder-Monkey Store. I could offer complete source code and documentation, but at a price. If you don’t have the time to actually learn about what you are doing, then is that hour worth $5-$10 to you? If you are in a corporate environment and have a slush fund, it may well be. If you have a huge site that would be vastly improved by just spending $5-$10, it may well be. The code is still open source and free to use, but you could get your grubby little hands on it right then, without having to wait. It’s a convenience fee, really. (My wife says it’s a stupid-tax, and I’m inclined to agree, but your interpretation may be different.)
For now, only a few ZIP files would be available. Presumably, however, I would continue to add new files as I produced new utilities. The theme would remain the same: it’s free if you are willing to learn, but it’ll cost you if not. I don’t have any fantasies about actually making any money doing this, as it’s not about the money — it’s about providing incentive to take the time to learn about the code you are using.
What do you think? Would this add value? Does it offend you on some level? Could you see yourself in a position that the $5-$10 was worth the time spend copying and pasting?