Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Danger of the Digital Pierian Springs

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
   drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
   and drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744) An Essay on Criticism, 1709

[The ancient Greeks believed the Pierian Springs, sacred to the nine Muses, imparted knowledge of the literature, the arts, and sciences to all who drank.]

As software developers we have to always be on guard against the latest crazes promising multiple  times the efficiency of current "stone age" software development.  For a while it was ObjectOriented Programming/Design, then GUI builders, then Patterns, then Functional Programming, then Service Oriented Architecture, then Software As A Service, then the Cloud, then REST and MVC.  (Ruby, Interpreted languages, and Kanban are in there somewhere).
I have seen quite a few systems (and built some of my own) that were slavishly and unnaturally following a paradigm far beyond what would make sense.  Do not be afraid of the new technology, some are really useful, but remember to drink deeply and see the flaws and limits of fresh intoxicating technology.

From Linus Torvalds:
Any time you have "one overriding idea", and push your idea as a superior ideology, you're going to be wrong. Microkernels had one such ideology, there have been others. It's all BS. The fact is, reality is complicated, and not amenable to the "one large idea" model of problem solving. The only way that problems get solved in real life is with a lot of hard work on getting the details right. Not by some over-arching ideology that somehow magically makes things work.
Linus quoted on SlashDot.com

No comments: