Practice makes perfect
In my spare time I decided to build out a website on AWS. I haven’t been in the nitty gritty details of writing software and configuring web servers for close to 10 years — and back then I was working in a Windows environment. Needless to say there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome when going from 10 year old Windows IIS configuration to current Linux/Apache configuration. Fortunately a few people have done this before and left plenty of documentation that is only a quick Google search away. After numerous battles with certificates, public keys, private keys, security groups, opening ports, ssh-ing, scp-ing, vi-ing, bashing, and sudoing I finally got “hello world” to appear on my website. I took a moment to revel in my triumph….and then I promptly deleted my AWS instance and created a brand new one. Why you ask?
As I was getting close to the finish line I thought to myself “I wonder if I could get this thing working again if I had a problem?”. The answer was “maybe but it would be a challenge”. At the same time I recalled guitar and piano lessons from my youth where my instructors encouraged me to practice until I could play an entire song (or passage) all the way thru without mistakes. This made me realize that even though I had a working website on AWS it didn’t really count because I made so may mistakes along the way. So I started over from scratch. Surprisingly this time I was able to get the website up in about 90% less time without any “mistakes” along the way. I bet I can knock off another 90% the 3rd time around.
Over the course of my career I have wasted much time debugging poorly configured systems — some that I have built and some that others have built. I think I am going to take the advice of my music teachers and practice more often from now on.