By Matt Haak, Product Manager @ Fruition Partners
When I was a growing up, I loved programming in HyperCard. HyperCard was part exploration, part design, part programming, just like ServiceNow. My favorite ‘stack’ was a Star Trek game I was making where you would fly from a space station to the Enterprise, board it and do a pre-flight inspection. (I have no idea why- of all the adventure and excitement of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the boarding and subsequent ship inspection by Admiral Kirk is what captured my imagination.) Anyway, one of the error messages I remember seeing from time to time was, “Error: too much recursion.” I had no idea at the time and wouldn’t learn for many years that recursion is when a function or routine calls itself.
Another thing beyond my understanding were XCMDs. These were heavy-duty HyperCard plugins written by really smart people in the C++ language. I loved exploring their capabilities back then, but the thought of actually creating one intimidated me.
These things hinted at tremendous power underneath the surface of HyperCard that I was not yet able to take advantage of. But unlike other areas of HyperCard that I could incrementally learn through exploration, trial, and error, these things – recursion and C++ – were more like walls. To have broken through those walls, I needed more than just new HyperCard skills; I needed new developer skills.
Fast forward twenty years and I found myself exploring, designing, and programming in ServiceNow. For all of its quirks and rough edges, I know many people who say they ‘love’ programming in ServiceNow, including myself. I think it’s because it is arranged like HyperCard. The developer vacillates between development, testing, and learning very fluidly. When you want to know how something works, you can open it up right then and there and look inside it.
ServiceNow, too, hints at tremendous power beneath its surface; it has the ECC Queue, Discovery Probes, Workflow Activity Definitions, and much more. Is one of these things a ‘wall’ for you? Everyone comes to ServiceNow with different backgrounds and experience so your ‘wall’ may be different than my wall. My wall right now is Unit Testing in ServiceNow. Thanks to our TestRunner software and some coaching from its developer, I am breaking through. Here again, I needed more than just to increase my ServiceNow skills, I needed to increase my skills as a developer and think about software design with a new, test-driven mentality.
For me, the excitement of fruDevCon is seeing hundreds of developers having their breakthrough moment. The conference can serve as a launching pad for learning a whole new developer skill set, not just a new ServiceNow skill set.
To that end, I might recommend taking a look at the following classes:
Whatever your development skills, it’s worth spending a minute to think about where you are hitting a wall. The opportunity to breakthrough can seem challenging, but once you “get it” you will wonder how you ever developed without it before.
I can’t wait to see you at fruDevCon 2013!