I get the sense that people think I’m irritable lately. So, who wants ta know!!
I am frustrated though and its because I am really looking for better ways to get things done. Unlike past times when I have felt like this, and it always comes and goes like the seasons, I have group of people to work with that challenge me and motivate me to shake myself up and get over it. I do see a mountain of things to do and feel like there are all these great productivity enhancers just beyond my fingertips. Code gen, mapping tools, refactoring tools, frameworks, api’s, the web, OOAD, you name it. I had an interesting conversation with Paul who I work with today. He has been around longer than I by a bit, and much longer in the computer biz because of my many years as a guitarist. His point: the longer you look back, the more it all looks the same.
Five years ago I would have completely rejected that point of view. Lately though I keep having this nagging thought about those billions of lines of COBOL running out there, year after reliable year. At the Windows 2003 launch event I went to, one of the presentations was about Service Oriented Architecture and it was really really good. He (can’t recall his name) described this great system in Chicago where he consults. The system passes all method calls across a well defined service bus. They could actually restore the system to a point in time, and replay everything that happened from there forward. The service bus was reliable and had specific rules to place a message on the bus, to take a message off and for handling errors. The system? An AS400
Some of the things we do today are not things that could be done easily on a mainframe. I’ve been involved in a few web apps that probably would have had a mainframe smoking at the joints based on traffic at peak times. Still, as we search for all these better techniques, we should never lose sight of the fact that these things we do should in the end be better than what preceded it. Now, I want to come out of my funk with at least a few choice nuggets of better and that great sense of accomplishment that goes along with having outwitted a large and ambitious project. There’s a red eyed juggernaut that stares at me when walk to my desk right now. Come to think of it, it might just be pissed off because of my poor art skills on the whiteboard.