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?
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Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 30th Sep 2012 18:39 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

WHen I used to hang out on Usenet, the Commodore groups, people would sometimes ask how to do something in Assembler.

Someone would reply with some 25 lines of code, someone else would reply to that with 18 lines and then someone would come up only 11 which someone else would change so it would run faster.

Although I had no idea what was going on it always seemed very cool and almost magical. But this required a high level of Assembler and C64 chip knowledge. It's not realistic or practical to code user applications using Assembler or take in to account the hardware as hardware is very diverse.

So you have to use libs and APIs, but I think it's rather annoying when a "programmer" makes something, that doesn't work and he then blames Microsoft or someone else.

In the old days and with all that low level stuff people could at least debug their code almost all the way. Now they suggest to reboot, reinstall the application, reinstall .NET or reinstall Windows. And even then that's no guarantee it works!

If when something doesn't work and the fault is with some library/include, the programmer should at least be able to see what he sends to an external routine and what comes back, but for some strange reason they don't see this as an option.

Recently we had a process that ran as a Windows service. Suddenly it kept stopping until it even refused to start. The guy on the phone couldn't figure it out (and yes, he did the reboot and reinstall thing), but lucky the expert joined in... and he didn't know what to do either.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Alfman on Sun 30th Sep 2012 19:28 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MOS6510,

"In the old days and with all that low level stuff people could at least debug their code almost all the way. Now they suggest to reboot, reinstall the application, reinstall .NET or reinstall Windows. And even then that's no guarantee it works!"

To be fair, the reinstall strategy often DOES solve the problem. It's absolutely lame, but software is so dense these days that as a *user* reinstalling is often the path of least resistance. A good developer should track down and fix the root cause, but good luck reaching one through tech support.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 30th Sep 2012 19:34 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The situation has improved, but in the days of NT 4.0 there were admins who use to have their server reboot automatically every night or else stuff stopped working or slowed down too much.

It's all zeroes and ones, so when something doesn't work right it should be possible to figure it out. It's just that between us and the actual coders there are a lot of human shields and even when the coders can be informed they either do nothing or can't figure it out.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Fri 5th Oct 2012 23:54 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

it always seemed very cool and almost magical. But this required a high level of Assembler and C64 chip knowledge

Very few people had such asm skills ...I'd say quite possibly fewer than now (it's just that proportions are different; and generally, our memory tends to see old times as always better - while the opposite tends to be the case; also, we have written examples of ~"the end is coming / moral decay of youth will destroy civilisation" since the very beginning of preserved written world, on some Mesopotamian tablets)

Reply Parent Score: 2