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muhuk's blog

Nature, to Be Commanded, Must Be Obeyed

February 09, 2010

Top 5 Untrends According To Me

My dear friend Ochronus posted an article titled Top 5 trends and technologies in software development that got me thinking. My thoughts below. Go check Ochronus’s blog if you haven’t, he is the lead developer at Arukereso.hu.

I agree with the suggestions from the original article. Yet, I would like to change the order a little bit; DVCS and then agile (with lowercase a) and then the rest. None of my points below are cool trends, in fact I can guarantee most of you will find them boring. But I think they are all important. OK, I hope you are all psyched now. Here we go:

1. Be Careful With The Buzz

Trends are cool. What could be wrong about following cutting edge stuff? We all want to be up to date, no? I think it’s good to follow the trends if you have the experience and the ability to filter the BS. I know a young developer who was constantly going back and forth between Rails/Ruby and Django/Python. I haven’t heard from him for a while, but he is probably still doing that same dance. Why? Because his considerations were solely based on buzz, not on simple requirements analysis or technical comparisons or personal experience.

2. Learn And Use An Old-Fashioned Low-Level Language

To all the scripting people, like me, out there: you need to have an understanding of what’s happening under the hood. At the least to appreciate our high-level environments, at the most to become genuinely good programmers. Being a Python person myself, I think the best low-level language to be proficient for me is C. Many other high-level languages have C interfaces. So investing the time to learn C should pay off one way or the other.

3. Do Less Web Programming

Aren’t we doing a lot of web programming these days? Actually I think doing X development exclusively is bad for your programming muscles. Web programming, enterprise work or system scripting, it doesn’t matter. But web programming happens more than anything else. Maybe some of you have only been playing with it, but there are a huge number of us doing nothing but web programming. This is so sad; both in an individual level and for the community at large.

4. Learn How To Educate Yourself

What is a noob? Here is a definition and disambiguation (from newbie):

Newbs are those who are new to some task and are very beginner at it, possibly a little overconfident about it, but they are willing to learn and fix their errors to move out of that stage. n00bs, on the other hand, know little and have no will to learn any more. They expect people to do the work for them and then expect to get praised about it, and make up a unique species of their own.

Make an active effort not to be a noob. Learn how to ask smart questions, how to communicate others and seek help. Being polite is good but actually improving and being a valuable member of the community is much, much better.

5. Open Source Properly

It’s great to open source your project. But please do it properly. There are already too many unmaintained, undocumented projects out there that noone seem to care. Do you really have to add to that? As is argument doesn’t make much sense today. But if you really have to make an open source dead drop, please at least document the status of your project and your intentions clearly.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some you think they all are obvious. But if they are so obvious then why are they widely being ignored? Is it because they are under-retweeted, under-reddited and therefore not trendy.

If you have any questions, suggestions or corrections feel free to drop me a line.