DevChats: Ben Barreth, AMC Theatres

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It’s a core belief at Stackify that we have to keep in touch with the people who use and trust our products so we are always on top of what they need from us. We had a chance to catch up with one of our users, Ben Barreth, Senior Software Contractor at AMC Theatres. In this installment of DevChats, we chatted about the challenges he faces in his work and some of the things that are working for him, he shares some great wisdom about building better applications. Watch a cut from the interview or read an excerpt below.

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Simple is Beautiful

We asked Ben what challenges he faces in his day-to-day work, and he talked about “pain.” “The things I don’t like about it, whenever you get into a big kluge of code and its incredibly complex, it doesn’t make sense to anybody, and then you have to maintain that forever. And nobody likes to maintain that code because by fixing one thing you are breaking another thing; you are introducing bugs. It’s just pain pain pain,” he said. “In my opinion the most beautiful code is simple code. Simple. Simple. Simple. Simple. But you just don’t see that very often.  When you see it – a beautifully simple elegant solution to something, you are like, this is awesome, let’s just run with this. And it works.”


Programming is Creative

Ben stated that one of the most attractive skillsets that one can have in today’s competitive workforce is the ability to create and recreate. “I don’t think many people realize that programming can be really creative. And even though you operate by a really defined set of rules, there are sometimes very elegant solutions to be found lurking just beneath the surface and those are really cool when you stumble across those,” Ben said.

Being able to step back and get a visual of the task at hand and being able to find a solution for that problem in an innovative manner is no easy task; this is precisely what Ben deals with on a daily basis and what drives him to excellence. When asked what he loved most about his career, Ben didn’t hesitate to express his enjoyment for “creating elegant things.”


Most Recent Win

When we asked him to recall one of his most recent wins, he recalled this story:

“We had one attempt, by several different senior developers to optimize this one particular page and we tried caching all different kinds of things – that’s a typical developer strategy for optimizing for increasing speed. When I pointed Prefix at it, it automatically showed me all these database calls that were going on. We had some idea that there was a lot of database activity going on, but we had no idea of the magnitude of it,” he said. “So that’s number one, number one value added showed immediately. And then number two was quantifying all of that. So not only did it show me a lot was going on here, but exactly how many database calls and how much time each of those calls were taking.”


Want to find out more about Ben and his work at AMC? Chat with him on Twitter at @benbarreth and see everything he’s doing to support developers in the Kansas City community.


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