Monday, January 22, 2007

Fear and Loathing in Software Development

CodeMash was a great conference. There were a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. But some things I heard from more than one person there is a bit of a "dark side."

No one can deny that there has been a lot of churn in the world of .NET and development in general lately. You've got the .NET 3.0 framework, offerings from Microsoft like Service Factory, persistence layers like nHibernate and tools that change the way we develop as a team like Team Foundation Server. You also have things that effect all platforms like SOA, Web Standards and Section 508 compliance. Add to all this LINQ which will be out before the end of the year and whatever Microsoft unveils at this years PDC and it's a lot to get your mind around.

But, when I hear my contemporaries say things like:
  • "Well, I'm not that interested in LINQ. Sure, it sounds good, but it's probably too complicated and who knows how long Microsoft is going to support it."

  • "Sure, Windows Work Flow sounds good, but no one here knows it and I probably can't find anyone to hire who does. I probably wont use it."

  • "Yeah, I know we should use CSS for things like styling and layouts, but it looks too hard and I don't feel like learning it."

  • "Smart Client would fix a lot of our issues, but it looks too hard to learn."

  • "Sure, Service Factory presents all the best practices of web services, but it just seems like a lot of work, so I'm going to just continue to shove everything into one project and not care about scalability or re-usability."

  • "I know Section 508 is the law, but it sounds really complicated. I'll just cross my fingers and hope the Feds never take a good look at my website."

  • "I bet I would learn a lot at that conference, but I'm not making up two billable days to go!"
it tends to be a little depressing. Especially when you note that the common theme is "This is too hard and I don't feel like putting forth the effort. Why can't just do things the way I've always done them?"

The bottom line is this; technology is an engine. You are either on board helping to lead the way and define the way things are going to be or you are behind it, watching it and your carreer get further and further ahead of you until you can't see it anymore.

It's up to you; the tools and information are out there. Use them or don't. But don't bitch when the train leaves you at the station.

Please note, the above quotes are not ment to single anyone out. I've heard them ALL in one fashion or another from a lot of different people on a lot of different occasions.

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