Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: Strange and unprofessional

While this rant-fest is in progress, gonna take out all the stops. Let's face it - all platforms for web development suck. Period. But for different reasons.

Many of the dynamically typed offerings show amazing promise... but don't look too closely. What's missing is that final 20% for those "exceptional use cases" which only a paid programmer will deliver e.g. unicode support for PHP - who in their right mind would volunteer?

Meanwhile the dollars and column inches are still flowing to technologies which appeal only to flagellants and terminally stupid. Technologies where that final 20% has been done (by someone who got paid) but have a general track record, when it comes to application programming, for delivering way over time if at all.

Today, every time I see someone put "dynamically typed" and "enterprise" in the same block of text, between the lines I'm reading "give us some real money and we'll really show you something". That seems to be the chicken and the egg of a remark like "strange and unprofessional". Of course it's strange and unprofessional! No one has fronted the bucks to package it for "enterprise fingers".

What's strangest of all, to me, is there still seems to be no real sign of any of the big software houses really getting behind a dynamically typed language. Sure there's concessions like IronPython, JSR 223 and the article in question but when did you last hear IBM touting "Websphere with Python, Perl, Ruby and PHP support"? It's tempting to suggest some kind of conspiracy (e.g. strongly typed sells IDEs) but far more likely is simple human falacy like the sales folk have got too used to talking to managers instead of developers.

The tradegy in all this comes by way of personal analogy. Where I work (best left un-named) we have a number of trainee software developers who are still studying while working for us part-time. The brightest of the bunch, who has all the hallmarks of an excellent developer, recently told me, based on his "enterprise experience", that he won't be going into IT when he's finished his studies. He doesn't know what he's going to do instead but definately not IT. That's a huge waste, and not only of his time.

Enough already.

Comment on Strange and unprofessional
by Harry Fuecks

Comments:

"What's strangest of all, to me, is there still seems to be no real sign of any of the big software houses really getting behind a dynamically typed language. Sure there's concessions like IronPython, JSR 223 and the article in question but when did you last hear IBM touting "Websphere with Python, Perl, Ruby and PHP support"? It's tempting to suggest some kind of conspiracy (e.g. strongly typed sells IDEs) but far more likely is simple human falacy like the sales folk have got too used to talking to managers instead of developers."

So, if these big corps need to support their legacy systems, and to support everything that they need they go to great lengths of even opening their own universities, how would they want to change everything in the name of "improved productivity", as it was a goal at all. They want to simplify what they need to support, while maintaining their status quo. That's why a language like Java which can be run everywhere is important. Train someone in it on a Windows machine and he could be used to maintain something in big irons. This big ball of mud won't stop getting bigger and bigger. More systems, more softwares, more people trained.

Why is that that when someone is not "professional" he feels compelled to use alternatives to what is used by the professionals? What if someone has been a professional for a decade and then decides to step aside and become something else? Maybe he forgot what a professional should use?

"It's so simple to be happy, but so difficult to be simple." ยป Gururaj Ananda Yogi

It's like life and death. Somethings matter the most when we need them the most.

I'm a Ruby proponent, BTW.

# Joao Pedrosa

> What's strangest of all, to me, is there still seems to be no real sign of any of the big software houses really getting behind a dynamically typed language.

Sun Microsystems: tcl. IBM: REXX and VisualAge Smalltalk. Microsoft: Visual Basic. The fact that Sun changed its mind about tcl doesn't mean it didn't happen. (I'm not sure IBM could be said to have a mind to change.) Ah, but these weren't the dynamically typed languages you were looking for.

# Bob David

Large software houses will support dynamic languages as soon as they figure out how to tools for them to large enterprise customers.
# Dan

"Ah, but these weren't the dynamically typed languages you were looking for."

That's always the problem with ranting and IT. Usually turns out the thing you were ranting about is based on personal false premises. Perhaps should re-word "What surprises me is the BigCo isn't focused on fulfilling my, and only my, needs..." ;)

And it seems I can eat my own words (and do so happily);

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5589559.html "Big Blue backs PHP for Web development"

Although that's PHP specific the statements that stand out (given this is position-defining PR);

Rod Smith, IBM's vice president of emerging technology:

"We've got ideas for improving things

[...]

the simplicity of PHP is one of its greatest assets

[...]

We're in a better position to look at a language that fits people's background and what they want to accomplish, rather than saying everything has to be written in one particular language that scales from easy-to-use to high-performance systems"

# Harry Fuecks