Changing Perspectives

“In the early days of our industry, programmers wrote in assembly code, selecting registers in which to place variables and managing memory explicitly. If we had magically provided these programmers with a Smalltalk compiler, they might have asked, “How does this help us select registers? How do we allocate memory?” They might have concluded, “”We don’t want no stinkin’ Smalltalk!”

Old and new programmers are still writing programs, but the technology to achieve the goal has changed. When a new technology is sufficiently different, you can’t evaluate it in terms of the old technology.”

Source: Stephen J. Mellor, Letters section, IEEE Software, March/April 2004

Sometimes new ways of doing things come in our life and it might be difficult to adapt. If you are used to drive a car and you take a train, you don’t ask how you are going to “turn left”: the train just follows the tracks. However, you have now to go to a station, buy a ticket, look at timetable, etc… This could be the same thing with some of the software development approaches that have recently become popular.

Functional programming, domain driven design or frameworks that favors convention over configuration like Ruby on Rails can offer a new perspective about what you have to do to develop software. If you have the time (and the energy) I would like to strongly encourage you inform you about these approaches or even better to try them. Ironically, the above quotation was in reply of a letter about UML and Model Driven Architecture. Six years after, there is not a lot of people still caring about this way of developing software, as it is for Smalltalk or assembly languages.


* Wikipedia.

Functional Programming

Domain Driven Design

Convention over configuration

* Articles

Functional programming – HaskellWiki

Functional Programming For The Rest of Us

Ruby on Rails guides

An Introduction to Web Development Using the Ruby on Rails Framework

An Introduction To Domain-Driven Design

An Introduction to Domain Driven Design