People Just Don’t Get It


There are programmers in the world. Then there are also those prorgammers, CTO’s with large megaphones.

Here is one of them: Making programmers more productive

It is 2005, and I love what this guy finally says. “The sheen of Java has worn off”.

Kudos for finally saying it.

Now I direct this to the vocal programming community at large:

Why does it take people so damn long to figure out these huge mistakes?

I think there is this hubris or pride in the programmer community. If you aren’t doing something really complicated like that other guy, then you aren’t smart. They say to themselves, “I’d better show that I know this stuff in order to be the uber geek! Damn the long hours and hair pulling. I love long compiles!”

Here is a tip: change the word complicated to productive and see if you don’t get on the right track.

Now to be fair, that isn’t the only reason. People are risk averse and usually blind to the differences between C and Java and XYZ. They will pick what everybody agrees on. Unfortunately, this system called ‘the bandwagon’ fails a lot.

Another fair point, ‘what about very weird technologies, Dru?’. Good point. There is the risk of lock-in on a language or system that may not make it. Would you want a system written in a dialect of Forth or Haskell?

Ok, but still. If you expose yourself to lots of technologies and you are a CS grad, you should know how to balance this and choose the correct technology. C’mon – when you see a ton of sites being built faster in PHP by non CS people … much faster than you can even design anything in Java… it is time to take a look.

Side note: the guy who wrote that article worked at Excite@Home. First, that company failed. Second, I worked with a Sr. guy from Excite at Danger (I think he is a founder at Oodle, from what I hear) who took the CEO’s position that you couldn’t run a service on Linux and PCs and insisted on Solaris and Oracle on Sparc. This was in 2000 and there were obvious examples to my point like Google and eGroups. Nice guy, but way behind the curve. After they spent a ton, I think they finally got it, but I was gone before that. It is important to record that Danger slipped over 1 year from their target ship date and had serious quality issues on launch. I am glad I didn’t attend those board meetings.

Side note 2: At Danger, they also insisted on doing things in C/C++. I tried to get people into Python. Last I heard, they actually started going in that direction.

‘Ok, Dru, why the angry man voice?’

When you can see a clear path, and everybody takes the harder one… it can get a little frustrating and disheartening… right?

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One Response to People Just Don’t Get It

  1. Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating to be ahead of the curve on these things. But it’s also heartening to see people moving in the right direction with Rails and other types of technologies.

    One of the major things to learn from the Java disaster is to put company white papers in perspective. Sun was vicious in it’s attack of Perl in the early days of Java on the server. Slamming Perl left and right with gutless and baseless attacks, when Perl was completely defenseless. Perl had no multi-million dollar marketing group defending it. So we all need to look at these companies and their PR groups in the light of technical reality and not their PR spin.

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