People I work with, especially for a first time, often think I am taking the detour, the high-way, always the most difficult course. When I work on things or projects, and the budget and time allows it, I rather build everything myself, or avoid using things like plug-ins, animation tools etc.
A programmer I work with often rolls his eyes when I push him to write code himself instead of using the components that Microsoft delivers. He is still young I guess and only know of the easiness of using plug-ins, components and pre-made objects. It is not that those external objects are not good in a project, they are often life-savers; but it is good to know whatthey actually do. It is like a doctor implementing a pace-maker into a person with the only knowledge that ‘it makes the heart pump again’ instead of knowing why and how it makes the heart pump. Because only thenyou can use it with full confidence. So, do not use a database connector in Flash or Silverlight, before you really knows what it is actually doing except ‘retrieving data’, or use tweening-software to create the most wonderful ease-ins and ease-outs before you have tried it yourself. It is a very valuable learning lesson that will put you ahead of the competition, even if you decide to use that same plug-in or component after all.
And sometimes you find out creating things yourself gives you a much wider perspective of the projects you deliver. And also, if something is not working right, that you know how to maybe replace the object completely by one that you can build yourself.
The knowledge of what actually makes your project tick is absolutely necessary. Just like why I think a designer should know the basics of development just to know what is or what is not possible, and a developer knowing the basics of design to understand the wishes and demands of a designer.
Only if you have a full grasp on you project and the clockworks turning inside, you will be able to control your product and deliver not only quality in the product, but also in your support and maintenance.