A blog about software – researching it, developing it, and contemplating its future.

Religious Wars Considered Harmful

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The blogging community is rife with flamewars about Java versus Ruby, static typing versus dynamic typing, Apple versus Microsoft, and on and on.

I am going to mostly avoid those debates here. Some days I feel that all these flame wars are more about personal taste than anything — and taste, being subjective, is definitely not worth huge flamewars. Other days I feel that all the flaming is simply missing an opportunity to ponder how to make things better overall.

I would like to have a language that combined the succinctness of Ruby with the static typing and IDE-assistance of Java. I would like to have a system that combined all the best qualities of OS X and Windows (for my personal values of “best”). I think competition is great, since it leads to opportunities for learning and improvement. And besides, the less dogmatic you are, the more able you are to appreciate all the many kinds of appeal in these different approaches… Ruby’s “it tells a story” syntax (well, aside from the @fields) is truly a thing of beauty, and yet who couldn’t be taken with the power of a C++ image library with near 100% code efficiency?

Too much flaming can wind up backing you into a corner, where you reject everything about the other side. And that way lies calcification and stagnation. Flamewars are the cholesterol of the technology world… they clog you up and can lead to heart attacks. (Although a little flaming can add spice — even cholesterol can be tasty in moderation! But some blogs serve up so much of it that it’d be superfluous here.)

So if you want incendiary language, there are plenty of other places to go, some of which are on my blogroll. But here I’m going to be all boring by comparison. Or… not… depending on your perspective!

And to try to move the conversation on a bit, stay tuned — my next few posts are on that very theme.


Written by robjellinghaus

2007/10/11 at 04:04

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