Reflections on the Zen Programmer blog post.


Boy, was I surprised that my blog post “The 10 Rules of a Zen Programmer” became so popular. The time it appeared a good bunch of people were attracted in no time. I thought “cool”, there are really a few people who like that. To be honest, I was always unsure about this post. Can you imagine it was in my drafts list since June 2011? I mean, most of my visitors are tech people and Zen is not really something which found it’s way into the tech world (until now). After a good while of considerations I posted it finally. It was simply too much work to leave it on my hard disk.

Then it was posted by somebody to Hacker News and everything became… let’s say extraordinary :-) In the first couple of hours 20.000 people went on my blog. And my guess is they caused some headache to my hosting service. Actually a few requests failed with an error message because the load. Usually server problems cause pain to me, but in this case I was pretty happy! I really worked hard on myself not to become proud :-) The high load on my server carried on for a couple of days. It was amazing.

Meanwhile the “Zen Programmer” post has been read >65.000 times. As the time of writing I still get lots of visitors every day. Guess it is time to say THANK YOU to all those who took the time, read and probably replied to it.

Hackers Monthly

But I need another “Thank you”. It goes to the creator of Hacker Monthly. Netizens Media were so kind and asked me if they can reprint my article on their magazine. Of course I said yes! What an honor! My eyes dropped out of their holes when I saw my article on the cover of the mag! I was blown! I got hold of the E-Issue and the print-version and must say it is a great magazine with an incredible layout! If you like well-designed printed mags, check it out!

The Zen Programmer did cause more positive side effects. It led to the fact that hundreds of people signed up to Time & Bill. Fantastic! Time & Bill is my product and I am really very, very glad so many people use it now. Even better: these users constantly send me great comments about improving it. I am really having trouble coding all the improvements quickly.

I learned: modern people need more time. As time is limited by day and night, they try to track what they are doing. Time & Bill does not only help with measuring project time and writing bills afterwards: it also helps to organize personal time. I have even heard of somebody who tracks his sport times with Time & Bill.

Zen Programmer

The feedback was so amazing and interesting, I decided to follow a vision and write The Zen Programmer Book. I got tons of e-mails with questions on Zen, on Work and other private troubles. I answered every mail, which took me until a few days. I strongly feel that many of the question deserve to be answered more generous: a book is a good way to do that.

Book writing in english is already difficult (for non native speakers). Writing a book which covers Zen… yes, I can say it made me a bit worried. But then I remembered Kodo Sawaki who impressed me deeply. He managed to translate the old Zen teachings to a modern language and make it available for modern people (you might want to know he died in 1965, so “modern” is to be seen in context). He used a simple, sometimes a pretty earthy speech. With my book, I will try to follow his example - simple speech for modern people. I will not try to write something of quality like Lord Dunsanys poems. I will not try to analyse Buddhism as a whole - this is for scientists. I just write, what I have learned. Subjective. This is the only thing a Zen student can do. Glad I am that I can code - at least. This makes the book a programming book, not a religious one.

My goal is to create a great book. There will be an editor, who helps me with my spelling and grammar errors. Another plan is to do something extraordinary. Something which is not usual for a coder. This will hopefully influence the book in another great way. It is not fixed yet, so I can’t speak about it now. But if you are interested to know it first, then you should subscribe to the mailinglist. Of course, I will not post everything to this blog. Some information will be exclusive for mailing list readers.

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The Zen Programmer Book

Due to the high interest of this blog post I have decided to publish a book on Zen Programming. Click here for more information. If you want to stay up to date with the books progress, please subscribe to this mailinglist. Only Zen Programming news will be sent in irregular intervals. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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