What started out as an amusing joke at work one day has turned into quite an interesting concept. After mentioning it to my colleagues and developer friends on IRC this seemed to snowball into some kind of monster.

This is Panic Coding.

This idea is simple, you have a development environment with your current project, nothing else, the bare minimum to work on that project/issue. You then have an hour to fix it. At the end of this hour your development environment is wiped clean. If you’ve not completed it then tough luck.

So how does this work then, the main principle behind the idea is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). If you can’t accomplish the whole or part (OO anyone?) within the hour then something isn’t right.

“But what if your project/issue takes longer than an hour?” - great question! You can attack this from a few different points.

  1. Can the problem be broken down? If so why don’t two/three/four developers tackle it?
  2. Are you sure you’ve gone about things the right way? Is the code horrible? Does it make you cringe? The hour limit means that you really have to think about what your doing.
  3. You’ll simply have to remember the code. Hopefully you should know it already but sometimes google/stackoverflow just gives you the perfect solution, having to remember it will hopefully force you to think about it more. You never know you might learn something.

“What a waste of time!” - uhuh, “Why spend a few hours fixing something when you can put a fix out in two minutes?” - Fair point, if I solve the problem and then it causes another problem I’ll be more than happy to bill you for additional time fixing the fix. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had to fix other peoples “fixes”.

I’m sure there are many more questions and by no means is this a tried and tested method, at the end of the day it’s a stupid idea that *just* might work.