Joel Spolsky, noted software development guru has finally gone off the deep end.
His latest rant is a classic example of a certain syndrome we’ve encountered many times in computing history. Certain people have this thing happen to them where they become so comfortable with a specific technology, so in tune with the ins and outs, best practices, invented cool workarounds, that they hit some brick wall when it comes to accepting that they have to move on. Joel is finding himself in this situation now. He’s very proud of his many years of VB, COM, ASP experience and probably finally feels like he’s got everything under control. Life is peachy. Then MS decides (nearly 6 years ago) that the time to make a quantum leap is now and that leap started with .NET and continues on through Longhorn and beyond. Managed code. Joel is thinking “why oh Lord must they change things when I’m a guru over here?” I’ll have to learn how to guru all over again. So maybe I’ll try to convince the world that it is a bad idea to introduce this new stuff and I’ll stick to my guns until it’s time to retire.
How many times have we heard this? “Nobody wants Windows, DOS will be it for me”, “Who needs to run more than one application at a time”, “I will never use a mouse”, “Win 3.1 (or 98 SE) is all I’ll ever need, I’ll never upgrade” and on and on.
Was Joel at the PDC? Somebody should show him the demo of Longhorn running VisiCalc. I saw it with my own eyes.
I could go on and on about all this, but I think I’ll leave it here: Raymond Chen is a fascinating read and his lessons shouldn’t be forgotten, but he’s not the future. Managed code (in many shifting forms) is the future. Look at Don Box for inspiration. The guy knows more about COM internals than anyone and one might have expected him to grow old crowing on about how COM rules for all times, but instead he used his guru credibility and skills in building absolutely key, cutting edge stuff in Indigo.