Saturday, May 09, 2009

What killed what?...

These days, there's a lot of talk about what allegedly "killed Smalltalk" and so on. I think it's the wrong observation. It's not about Smalltalk, or Java, or Ruby, or whatever. It should be about what we do with the language of our choice. So my question to those that spend large amounts of time wondering what is or is not the most popular language on Earth is: when you finally reach your death bed, are you going to be satisfied with the time spent talking about stuff instead of doing stuff?

How much progress could we have achieved if we had skipped the discussion about what's dead or alive? How many man hours have we wasted producing hot air? How about doing something productive instead? Can we move past yet another incarnation of CRUD applications already? I know building CRUD applications is rewarding, but it's because we've done CRUD for decades and so we hardly ever fail. This type of program is not a real challenge anymore. How about creating something new for a change? Please?


Giuseppe Luigi Punzi said...

Good said.

Anonymous said...

I think the point was learning from the past, so no need to get defensive. Smalltalk is definitely alive, but let's say "less popular than it deserves to be". If Ruby guys think they can improve by learning from misfortunes of Smalltalk - nothing wrong with that.

Andres said...


The point I am trying to make is not one of being defensive. I just think wondering about that stuff could be seen, itself, as a sign of impending death. In other words, why is death of Ruby a concern so large that it has to be addressed? If it's so important, why is any effort spent talking about it instead of applying the changes necessary? If it's not important (as Uncle Bob says, it's not something that he thinks will happen to Ruby), then why talk about it?

The net effect has been a lot of talk about what might kill languages. We could have done something productive instead. All of us, from Uncle Bob to me.

So, like I said, all this talk of what killed what and when... it could be said of any language. You could go ahead and say "omg what killed Lisp?", or "omg what killed COBOL?", or any other language or technology you care about. For example, "omg what killed DEC Alpha chips?".

The real issue is why does it matter to us that some technology "dies"? The answer is because we allow ourselves to become the technology, and therefore we experience what happens to the technology as happening to us personally. We identify ourselves with a thing, and in the process we reduce ourselves to a still object. This reduction of what we are down to a thing, to me, is an issue.

So, instead, we could skip all that mess and continue our personal development regardless of which technology we choose. If we did that, we would talk about what we accomplished or how we created something that is truly new and innovative (not CRUD!!!), rather than about the lives and deaths of things that were never alive to begin with.

In short, it's about creating stuff.

My 2 cents...