Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Sep 2012 21:51 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
General Development "When I started writing programs in the late 80s it was pretty primitive and required a lot of study and skill. I was a young kid doing this stuff, the adults at that time had it even worse and some of them did start in the punch card era. This was back when programmers really had to earn their keep, and us newer generations are losing appreciation for that. A generation or two ago they may have been been better coders than us. More importantly they were better craftsmen, and we need to think about that." I'm no programmer, but I do understand that the current crop of programmers could learn a whole lot from older generations. I'm not going to burn my fingers on if they were better programmers or not, but I do believe they have a far greater understanding of the actual workings of a computer. Does the average 'app developer' have any clue whatsoever about low-level code, let alone something like assembly?
Thread beginning with comment 536985
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Web "developers"
by biffuz on Sat 29th Sep 2012 13:27 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

I don't know about "app developers", but I can claim for personal experience that a large part of self-proclaimed "web developers" have absolutely no clue about what programming means.
Some gems I've heard from this kind of people:
- Nobody ever used Java really
- C is an extinct dinosaur
- C++ is for geeks only, the Linux apps I'm using right now are written in QT
- The kernel isn't part of the operating system
- What's the kernel?
- You don't need to turn strings into bytes anymore, modern CPUs can do the math with strings as well
- Javascript is as fast as assembly if not faster
- You can't even develop in assembly anymore
- PHP doesn't need algorithms

Reply Score: 8

RE: Web "developers"
by moondevil on Sat 29th Sep 2012 14:27 in reply to "Web "developers""
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

What a list!

I'm feeling like printing it and hang it on my office.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Web "developers"
by johntdaly on Sat 29th Sep 2012 19:58 in reply to "Web "developers""
johntdaly Member since:
2012-07-27

I am a web developer and I develop web services for our app developers to use. I don't agree with what you say. I've worked with guys that have said similarly funny stuff like what you quote (my favorite was “C has classes now in the newest version by Microsoft, C#!”) but those weren’t clueless or unskilled programmers. They where programmers that had settled for one language, in this case PHP. That made them good PHP programmers but rather helpless when it comes to other languages or other problem domains.
The problem I see with this article and with what you and way to many other do is to define a “good programmer” as somebody who knows X, Y and Z. Anybody who doesn't know about those things is a clueless, bad programmer.
The problem is today we need a lot of programmers, and there are a hell of a lot of kinds of programmers too. So even tough I know C/C++ and have a strong interest in operating systems I do web stuff it dynamic languages (right now in JavaScript and Ruby) for a living and I like it. The field has grown and is now so damn big that none of us have a fair chance to be competent in more then one or two problem domains and some don't even get past one programming language. That doesn't make them or rather US (me and all the other devs here) incompetent or useless. A lot of time has passed since programming meant writing batch processes for mainframes or small BASIC scripts for your home computer.
We need those legions of programmers to get all the work done that exists now (how many devices to you own now that you can classify as computer?) so the barriers to entering the job market is low but only the good and capable get all the way up to the good jobs.
Back in the days all programmers where the equivalent to engineers, now we have mechanics too.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Web "developers"
by biffuz on Sat 29th Sep 2012 22:49 in reply to "RE: Web "developers""
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

Mine is just a small selection of sentences to show the situation, but talking and working with this kind of "programmers" reveals their real knowledge or even interest in their job. I said "a large part", not "all", and I choose "web developers" because that's the category where this effect is most visible nowadays. Of course nobody can be an expert in every field, but you can't miss the fundamentals.
Most of the people I heard these sentences from were very good at other task - say web design, graphics works, management, or simple zealous workers. They also manage to make scripts that appears to be working, or they wouldn't be in this sistuation.
But probably the best way to describe them is that they _refuse_ to learn a better method, to get a larger vision of their work. They're happy because their products (apparently) works, they're happy because their boss is happy that their products (apparently) works, and they're happy because an happy boss will help in keeping thir job. I've learned that when you find yourself in this situation you should either get out as soon as possible, or work as bas as your neighbour.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Web "developers"
by RareBreed on Sun 30th Sep 2012 16:47 in reply to "Web "developers""
RareBreed Member since:
2011-10-10

Let me start off by saying that I am currently a linux device driver developer for SAS storage controllers...so I consider myself a "to the metal" programmer. However, I also have quite a bit of experience with test automation, so I know both sides of the coin.

So as a rejoinder to this, I've heard hardcore C(++) and HDL also show a vast ignorance. To wit:
- (In regards to a distributed app) "Where is the exe that I can run to install this?"
- Recursion is stupid and should never be done because you can blow the stack (not realizing that other languages have tail-call optimization)
- Who have never heard of TDD
- Who have never heard of continuous integration
- Who think it is ok to rsh or telnet into remote machines
- Who thought that self-balancing trees were a new "invention"

I can't tell you how much prejudice I've seen with the "metal" programmers deriding web app and database guys. And yet if you ask them if they have ever done any themselves...they haven't.

My web application experience is extremely limited. I have played with a few web servers (cherrypy, pyramid, and jetty), and written some very small toy "hello world" kind of web apps. But I can tell you this...web programming is way harder than most "to the metal" programmers think it is. Same thing with database programming.

Figuring out network problems, understanding the topology of the system (are you using virtualization?), understanding either multi-threaded or asynchronous (reactor/proactor) servers handling several tens of thousands of requests simultaneously...none of that is easy.

And yes, everything I described is back-end development. But I think many "metal" programmers only think of the front end devs (the guys writing front php or javascript, css, adobe AIR or javaFX for example). But even that isn't as easy as you think. They deride that as "scripting".

I know EE's and CE's who just couldn't grasp closures in javascript or lambdas in python. Showing them python generators or classes that dynamically generated classes or functions was a real stretch for them. In other words, their idea that "scripting" languages are toy languages was simply ignorance.

For some reason, many "to the metal" programmers somehow think that being able to do bit manipulation, access registers, time the hardware with the software, and juggle virtual-to-physical addresses somehow makes them superior. Even desktop application developers don't have to worry about things like dependency management or networking issues.

The sad fact is, most programmers specialize and are therefore unaware of the difficulties faced by the kinds of programming others do. I am fond of an old chinese saying regarding religion, but which I shall paraphrase for programming:

"If you only know one programming style, you know none"

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Web "developers"
by biffuz on Mon 1st Oct 2012 09:56 in reply to "RE: Web "developers""
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

I already explained my thought better here: http://www.osnews.com/thread?537017

Reply Parent Score: 2