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December 12, 2004

Plenty of food for thought

Adam Bosworth on programmers and those who just want to get the job done -

Consider programming itself. There is an unacknowledged war that goes on every day in the world of programming. It is a war between the humans and the computer scientists. It is a war between those who want simple, sloppy, flexible, human ways to write code and those who want clean, crisp, clear, correct ways to write code. It is the war between PHP and C++/Java. It used to be the war between C and dBase. Programmers at the level of those who attend Columbia University, programmers at the level of those who have made it through the gauntlet that is Google recruiting, programmers at the level of this audience are all people who love precise tools, abstraction, serried ranks of orderly propositions, and deduction. But most people writing code are more like my son. Code is just a hammer they use to do the job. PHP is an ideal language for them. It is easy. It is productive. It is flexible. Associative arrays are the backbone of this language and, like XML, is therefore flexible and self describing. They can easily write code which dynamically adapts to the information passed in and easily produces XML or HTML. For them, the important issue is the content and the community, not the technology. How do they find the right RSS feeds? How do they enable a community to collaborate, appoint moderators, and dynamically decide whose posts can go through and whose should be reviewed? How do they filter information by reputation? These are the issues that they worry about, not the language.

Wonderful essay, read it and be gentle with your own biases.

December 12, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink


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