Disrespect for technology not appreciated

I’ve seen this a thousand times. Some self-proclaimed technology pundit starts going on about how the world would be a better place if only “______” didn’t exist (or, didn’t exist anymore). I saw it again this week, and it’s still not very pleasant.

I’m sure it began as the first higher-level languages began to elbow their way into the computer room next to assembly language, but it didn’t start to become fashionable until computer “experts” began to predict the demise of COBOL. For the record, I think we’re going on about 30 years of “COBOL’s dead, haven’t you heard?”

I didn’t appreciate how ridiculous this really was the first time I heard it, but when I started to develop in Visual Basic, I was very aware that VB was considered an “inferior” language. Never mind the fact that I, as well as the former Mainframe developers I’d trained, were cranking out features a lot faster than the “smart” developers. While they were wading through inheritance stacks trying to find out which super-class was really responsible for setting the text of a window caption, I was building applications out of a bag of components I’d bought for a few hundred dollars. I’m not worthy!

So it was again with Java. I saw a lot of Java code and Java coders come and go. I saw some smart ones and some that weren’t so smart, and I saw some fantastic applications and some that weren’t worth a hill of beans. Through all of this, I’d dare say that the better the developer, the less likely he was to suggest that anybody who wasn’t working with Java was a nobody loser has-been legacy programmer. The distinction wasn’t lost on me.

Now, of course, it’s becoming fashionable to dump on Java. Rails is far, far hipper, and .Net is rising fast. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m working in C# now. I still hear the noise about those inferior languages and tools, and it still ruffles my feathers a bit. This week, I was in the middle of a design discussion in which the use of ADO.Net DataSets was proclaimed to be categorically evil.

This, of course, completely ceased to amuse me.

I can appreciate how the misuse of a technology can make a mess, but I just don’t have a lot of patience for someone who suggests that a technology is without any redeeming qualities, let alone is destructive enough all by itself to ruin an application. I’ve seen far more applications ruined by developers who didn’t understand how the technologies they were using really worked.

In case this escaped you to this point, ADO.Net DataSets are part of Microsoft’s current technology stack. These classes ship with .Net and the Visual Studio development environment. They appear prominently in Microsoft’s documentation and sample applications. They are not, contrary to popular opinion, the abandoned stepchildren of the modern Microsoft development stack.

I’m just not buying the line about DataSets being the spawn of Satan, and I won’t buy it next time, either, when I hear a generalization made without any real understanding of the problem or the solution.

Save that for someone who doesn’t know better.